After the fatal stabbing of a University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) student during homecoming on Feb. 16, students and their parents are worrying about the violence at Maryland state schools.
“My mother wants me to transfer to another school next semester because of the stabbing that has gone on on campus,” Breanna Barber, a UMES student from Buffalo, NY, said in an interview. Many other parents and students on college campuses throughout Maryland are feeling the same way after the most recent violent outburst that occurred at UMES.
“It seems like every time I turn on the news, there’s violence at some school,” Ashley Childs, a senior communications major at Morgan, said. “I don’t feel safe knowing that something is going on at one of these schools every time I look up.”
Hoke Glover, who teaches English at Bowie, is also concerned.
“Having two children in college and being a professor myself, I truly believe that something has to be done,” he said. “I start to worry when I hear what’s going on at these university’s because the last thing I want is to get a call saying that something has happened to one of my kids. Even without that, my heart hurts every time I hear about one of these tragedies.”
According to police, Edmond St. Clair, 21, was stabbed during a dispute with a group of unidentified males. The stabbing occurred during homecoming weekend at UMES. The campus was buzzing with school spirit, alums were back on campus, and the university added a yard to its list of homecoming activities. But the school spirit quickly went sour when St. Clair was fatally stabbed.
“I got the news right in the middle of the skate party,” said Lesa Lee, physical therapy student at UMES who was attending a homecoming event when she got the news of St. Clair’s death. “You could tell that everyone got the news at the same time because the rink got quiet. It was so sad that we couldn’t even enjoy homecoming without something so tragic. The mood was definitely dampened.”
In September of 2011, a Bowie State University student fatally stabbed her roommate in a university dorm. In May 2012, a Morgan student was arrested for the suspected killing and eating of a man’s body parts. Last semester, there were two shootings on Morgan’s campus by men that didn’t attend the school. Most recently, a University of Maryland College Park grad student committed suicide after killing one of his roommates and injuring another.
“I honestly don’t understand why it’s this crazy,” said Michael Sedgwick, a junior transportation systems major at Morgan. ”We come to school to learn and better ourselves, not to get shot up.”
This comes at a time when Congress is in heavy debate on the current gun laws. Since the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, which left 20 children dead, President Obama has taken an aggressive stance on improving gun restriction laws in order to keep guns out of criminal’s hands.
Looking ahead, Glover, the professor and parent, said: “Perhaps Obama will hook us up with some change on these laws so this won’t occur as often.