Story by Valentina Garcia, News Intern
Photo courtesy of unsplash.com
From the end of Sept.to the beginning of October, hearing about a clown sighting was not surprising. The nationwide clown problem began in late August after children reported a clown inviting them into the woods in South Carolina. It only took a few weeks for what happened in South Carolina to spread throughout the rest of the country.
The clowns became problematic when people used them to instill fear in their communities. Most appearances happened in schools and college campuses, causing schools to go on lockdown. Threats were made to schools using social media, and although they were found to be harmless, every threat has to be taken seriously. Threats are not to be made or treated as a joke.
The “clown sightings” were usually said to occur near schools and trees. Seeing as Aquinas is a school with plenty of trees, this was worrisome. Director of Campus Safety Kevin Kwiatkowski said that the possibility of clown sightings on campus has been discussed; Campus Safety has been monitoring the situation.
“As of Oct. 7, 2016, the closest clown sightings were in Big Rapids, Cadillac, Muskegon and South Haven. Realizing this, we have not taken any additional actions other than to monitor news reports and police reports of any reported sightings in the Grand Rapids area,” Kwiatkowski said.
The clown situation can be referred to as a fad, one which once it is over, no one will miss. Sightings, many unconfirmed, were happening often for a while, but there has not been one recently. Nonetheless, Campus Safety will still be monitoring reports.
Had one of these clowns found their way into Aquinas, Kwiatkowski said Campus Safety would have responded in the following manner: “Information is gathered from the caller pertaining to location, description, and actions of the transgressor. A Campus Safety officer is then dispatched to locate the suspicious individual and to question them as to their intentions on campus. The interview dictates the response from the Campus Safety Office.”
This is the protocol followed whenever there is any suspicious situation on campus. Kwiatkowski also said that if the situation deserves further attention, an email would be sent to the Aquinas community asking for increased personal awareness. Being aware of our surroundings is key when it comes to protection.
Kwiatkowski gave some tips as to how to increase personal awareness: “Only use one earbud so that you can hear anyone approaching, ensure that campus safety’s phone number is on your speed dial, and know your location so that you may relay it to the dispatcher along with a good description of the suspect.”
About the Writer…
Valentina Garcia is a second-year student who loves sunny days, Jane Austen, and preferred tea to coffee until she started college.