The impact of recent events
Presentations for prospective students to focus on safety
Faculty and staff at Wilfrid Laurier University are currently working on recruiting prospective students for 2016-17, but should the school be worried about the negative impact the university may receive from this month’s events?
In September, a Laurier student was involved in shooting BB pellets at three women in the King Street-Hickory Street area.
In October, Laurier was involved in a lockdown procedure after a threat on 4chan.org targeted the Science Building.
A week later, an investigation was launched into a Snapchat with a student holding what is believed to be a replica gun saying, “tell ISIS I’m in the Science Building.”
David McMurray, vice-president of student affairs at Laurier, believes the events highlighted in the media over the past month will not impact students’ choice to come to the school.
“I think being isolated as it was will not impact next year’s students who will choose Laurier as one of their choices to come,” McMurray said.
“I think as concerning as it was, overall our campus is very safe.”
According to McMurray, police arresting and charging the suspect from the BB gun incidents was a relief to the school’s staff, faculty and students.
“The student who has been charged [BB gun incident], it was quite a relief I think to the campus community to know after some time an investigation has been ongoing by Waterloo Regional Police to know that that person has been charged,” he said.
Laurier’s enrolment services have provided the appropriate message to the university’s recruiters and ambassadors about the past events such as the lockdown.
“Interestingly enough, in all the tours and in the classroom visits, we’re not getting questions about these events,” said Jennifer Casey, assistant vice-president of enrolment services and registrar at Laurier.
Laurier, particularly Special Constable Services, received praise for how quickly the university communicated with students, staff and faculty during the various events. SCS has a very strong relationship with WRPS, so when police have to be on campus the relationship is effective.
According to Casey, prospective students visiting the university have the opportunity to learn about the school’s programs that focus on campus safety.
“The presentations that we’re doing in the high schools and the ambassadors when they’re touring the campus, they talk about all the great partnerships and programs that are in place that focus on safety,” she said.
Only halfway through the recruiting season, Casey noted the school has made changes in terms of marketing, including a new Viewbook, sessions and partnerships.
“We seem to be tracking about on par in terms of our numbers right now from last year, registrations for the Waterloo Open House are slightly up at this point.”
“We’ve been really proactive in terms of the communication that’s going out to prospective students that are in our system so we’ll continue to see increases in the registration for the open houses,” she continued.
The Waterloo Open House will be taking place on campus on November 6.
According to McMurray, rather than looking at the past events that took place in Waterloo, many students choose to come to Laurier because of services like the Diversity and Equity Office, the Rainbow Centre, and the Centre for Women and Trans People.
“I don’t think there’s a university that has the passion associated with campus climate and inclusiveness and I think that really impacts safety overall and one’s general wellbeing.”