An early morning shooting on Friday has shocked students and staff at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
The incident took place at 1:20am outside of an all-Greek dormitory. One student produced a handgun during a late-night altercation. Four people were shot, with one being fatal. The suspect is an 18-year-old freshman. They remain in custody this morning.
The violence comes as a huge shock to the students and faculty at NAU. In an early morning news conference school officials told reporters that the campus was secure and students would be expected in classes on Friday.
““We are sensitive to the tragedy and we are asking the faculty to be sensitive to the needs of our students and their families,” Northern Arizona University president Rita Cheng told reporters, “This is not going to be a normal day at NAU. Our hearts are heavy.”
Students took to social media to express their disbelief. One of their fellow students was dead, and three others were in hospital, yet lectures, tests and labs were to continue as if it were any other school day.
Some students said that they had been up all night, fielding calls and texts to friends and family members across the country to keep them informed on the situation.
“So many of us have been up since 1, 2, 3 in the morning,” one student posted on social media app Yik Yak, “how do they expect us to function?! Especially knowing one of us is dead and three others are wounded?!”
Other students took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the administrations treatment of the situation. Many stated that it was disrespectful to the memory of the deceased student, claiming that it gave students no time to mourn the loss of one of their own.
Yik Yak lit up with students expressing their unhappiness. Several students advocated for not going to class as a protest and as respect to the victims of the tragedy.
Mental health was a concern for others on the social media app. Some believed that allowing classes to resume would be stressful for those impacted by the tragedy.
“Do not go to class [if] you feel you are not emotionally stable enough to,” one Yik Yak user posted. “Take care of yourself.”
Still, another camp believed that the real insult would be to use the shooting as a way to avoid going to class. The primary concern of everyone on campus should be the well-being of the victims and their families, not whether or not there would be classes.
“Don’t use this tragedy as a ploy to get out of class today,” one user posted, “this tragedy will be with us every day now.”