Letter to the Editor: Thanking Norris staff for response to campus gun scare

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I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the staff of Norris University Center for its response to the security alerts Wednesday. As I walked into Norris and up to Starbucks, I saw dozens of students rushing into a staff office. Being an alum and pastor for a campus student organization, I did not receive the text alert that students received, but I was quickly informed of the situation by Norris staff. As we packed into an office, I watched various Norris staff members sweep the floor quickly and bring all students inside. One senior administrator in particular was the last to enter the room. He calmly locked the door, turned off the lights and informed everyone of the situation and asked them to silence their phones. His demeanor and leadership put myself and many others at ease.

As we waited, I watched this administrator count every person in the room and continue to keep us informed as best he could. Even when Northwestern sent out a tweet giving an all-clear to campus (except those in Engelhart), he kept us in the room until this was confirmed by multiple sources.

In the midst of the fear and unknown, I saw this staff member — and many others at Norris — handle the situation with incredible poise and courage. They ensured everyone was safe and placed themselves in possible danger to protect others. So I want to say thank you. Thank you to the Norris staff, police officers, teachers and others who handled the entire ordeal so well. We should not let this go unnoticed. It is not easy to be a calm leader in the face of unknown danger, but I saw confident leadership amidst chaos. None of us in that dark room knew whether we were safe, but I am sure that I am not alone in saying that the administrator who took control of that situation put many of us at ease. Thank you.

Ben Williams, WCAS ’14
Pastor of Church of the Redeemer at Northwestern