A professor at the University of North Dakota by the name of Heidi Czerwiec is making headlines for an open letter she published after being stricken with fear by the site she sees out her window that apparently forced her to hide and call 911. Here is part of the letter:
I look up from my office computer to see two figures in camo with guns outside my window. My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911. The dispatcher keeps me on the line until someone can see if ROTC is doing maneuvers.
I can barely talk—first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them. They thank me for reporting it.
A few minutes later, a university officer calls me back—not to reassure me, but to scold me for calling 911. He says ROTC has permission to do this exercise. When I tell him that this was news to 911 and that they encouraged me to call whenever I see a gun on campus, he seems surprised.
After learning that the ROTC will be conducting drills for the next couple of weeks she said, “I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time. It’s not my job to decide whether people carrying guns at school are an actual threat. It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family.”
According to a local media report:
In an interview with the Herald, Czerwiec said she wrote the letter because she has friends at other college campuses who have or experienced a shooting or had their campuses locked down because of a gunman.
“I was not calling the police on ROTC, I was calling the police because I was told if you see something, say something, and I saw what appeared to be two gunmen on campus,” she said.
UND responded by saying they sent out campus wide emails whenever the drills were taking place in the future.
“We did send an email notifying all students, faculty and staff that ROTC would be holding exercises throughout the spring in the Quad portion of campus. But we recognize that the notification wasn’t sufficient,” UND spokesmen Peter Johnson said. “We provide a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff but in this instance we could have done a better job of helping students and employees know that this was a safe training exercise.”
Sounds like it’s going to be a long two weeks on the UND campus.