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… and a bit more:
Donald Farrell’s athletic ability — he played both lacrosse and baseball in high school — couldn’t protect the Rowan University sophomore against the vicious attack this past Saturday night that killed him.
In the attack’s aftermath, Rowan University President Donald J. Fariah’s words couldn’t have offered much comfort to the school’s students. The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Fariah as telling students a few days ago that “We all have the danger of overreacting to a tragic situation.” The university definitely didn’t overreact. After the attack, it took them three hours to notify students.
Fariah’s excuse for the delay: “They had left the scene, they were not still on campus . . . it was not our highest priority,” he said. “We wanted to find out more information.”
How could Fariah have been certain that the attackers weren’t still in the area and wouldn’t return? And why was it more important for the university “to find out more information” than to alert students. Has Rowan’s leadership not learned anything from what happened at Virginia Tech?
If I were a Rowan student or the parents of one, I would find Fariah’s words discomforting.
It is the responsibility of a university’s leadership to ease its students’ fears when an act of violence has taken its toll on a member of its academic community. Fariah needs to examine his words, asking himself whether they lessened students’ fears or kept them elevated.