Instilling fear on campus
It’s important to remember who is affected by ‘jokes’
It took me a really, really, really long time to convince my parents to let me go away for university.
As a wanderlust, I always wanted to leave home and explore.
My mom was always teary-eyed every summer when I’d go away to camp, and it took her driving us to the airport to let me live in California for a month when I was 17.
When it came to choosing a university, my mom’s response was always the same: “There’s a perfectly good university right down the street.”
But I left home and came to Wilfrid Laurier University.
I spent four years here doing my degree, to which every day she trusted that I would be taken care of.
She didn’t expect anything further than a casual text every day to make sure I was alive, or a phone call every so often if things got hard.
Beyond that, my parents never had any reason to think I was in danger.
Until two weeks ago.
As Editor-in-Chief of this fine publication, I have a subtle sense of neuroticism. When breaking news happens and we are alerted to stay away, instead of listening, I run right into the line of fire.
That’s what I did when the school was on lockdown.
Police said stay away, but I got up at 7:30 a.m., and walked briskly to the corner of King Street and University Avenue to do my interview and cover the story.
I was not surprised when I checked my Facebook to a message from my mother.
“Stay home … in the basement,” it said.
Well, I already didn’t listen to that.
Throughout the day, my mom was notified that I was safe because I kept tweeting and posting on Facebook, doing my job. She was notified through social media about my wellbeing.
My parents were okay because they had a way to know I was okay.
But that doesn’t mean it was any easier on them.
My parents were worried sick. Every member of my staff’s parents were worried sick.
My friends who don’t even live in the city anymore had their parent or guardian messaging them asking if they were okay.
Someone could have been hurt, and it would have been devastating.
Now, we had an “online posting” that makes Laurier need extra police presence on campus.
There was an ongoing investigation because some student decided it was funny to put “Tell ISIS I’m in the Science Building” on a Snapchat of him holding a gun.
That’s funny to you?
I got a message Friday morning from my mom saying she wants me to leave Waterloo.
Maybe she was joking, but it’s not funny when my parents, who are two hours away, feel helpless that their only daughter could be in danger while some idiot puts a picture of him on a social media site.
To students, it may be fun to engage in something they are not directly influenced by; to the poster of the original threat, it was a running inside joke.
But to those looking from the outside, knowing someone they love is near a potential threat, it’s anything but hilarious.
It’s degrading to the trust our parents and guardians have with Laurier to make sure we’re okay.
It’s stressful for our parents and guardians who have to wait for updates to make sure their children aren’t hurt.
It’s harmful to students who may not feel safe because students want to have some “fun.”
I put my parents in a terrible place when I decided to be Editor-in-Chief.
News is my number one priority and regardless of if it’s safe, I’m going to cover whatever is happening.
It’s in my nature.
But for all of the other students at Laurier that have to text, call or email their parent or guardian to tell them “I’m okay” because someone decided to threaten the very institution they have put their trust in, is stupid, ridiculous and a waste of time.
Don’t use someone else’s stress as a game.
Don’t make people worry constantly about whether or not you’ll be okay walking to class or studying for a midterm.
These images, threats and postings are inappropriate because one day, it might actually happen.
And that day it won’t be a joke.