Shooting near campus raises safety concerns among some students

By Olivia Willoughby

Wednesday night’s shooting left several students in shock as they feared for their own safety.

“I don’t feel safe,” said sophomore pre-nursing major Jessica Prokuski. “And I don’t think a lot of people feel safe.”

Wednesday night, Prokuski had been outside by Neptune North. She said she saw a group of people near Neptune West and wanted to run over and help.

“I saw cops crowding around with flashlights, and they were looking at the ground,” Prokuski said. “When I got over, I found out they had been looking at the guy who got shot. Also, when I noticed that there were cops at the front desk, I knew that something was going on.”

Sarah Denardo, sophomore family consumer nutrition and science major, said she heard shots fired outside, but didn’t pay any attention to it until it was confirmed that someone had been shot.

“I was scared but not frantic or fazed at all,” Denardo said. “It was definitely scary to fall asleep that night. The scariest part was that it’s right across the street from me. I walk over there all the time. It’s a little too close for comfort.”

A key factor in some students’ fear did not revolve around the shooting, but the fact that the shooting happened near campus.

“It makes me nervous thinking that the shooter is still out there,” said Amanda Lincoln, sophomore elementary education major. “I know the chances of me getting shot are slim, but it’s still so close to everything.”

Some students also fear walking around campus late at night.

“It’s really scary, and I really don’t want to be out at night if the guy is still out there, especially since I have night classes,” Prokuski said.

Prokuski said past crime on and near campus makes this event less shocking.

“It’s like it’s routine, and I expect something like this to happen,” Prokuski said. “I think it’s a part of a chain of events. People will look at the past, and it’s really unfortunate for NIU because it’s not [its] fault.”

Some students are not fazed by this event.

“I feel desensitized in a way, especially with everything that happened,” Lincoln said. “It’s bad to say it, but it’s just another shooting.”

The shooting not only affects current students, but also future ones. Some students think Vision 2020, NIU’s goal of having 30,000 students in nine years, may start to crumble if violence continues.

“If the violence keeps up, no one will want to play or risk their lives and come here,” said freshman nursing major Kiara Booker. “People won’t look here and see NIU as a good, accredited school.”

Like Booker, Denardo said the shooting negatively affects NIU’s reputation as a safe campus.

“I might start looking for another school,” Denardo said. “I have night classes, and even though the shooting was around midnight, it’s still scary. A lot of people view this school as having a lot of crime, violence and that it’s dangerous.”

Lincoln said despite the shooting, students should try to move on.

“You kind of have to carry on,” Lincoln said. “If you don’t, it will hinder your ability from doing normal everyday things. I just hope that whoever did it gets reprimanded for their actions because there’s really no need for violence.”