Home News In the Wake of Tragedy, Balancing Freedom and Safety at Michigan State

In the Wake of Tragedy, Balancing Freedom and Safety at Michigan State


On Wednesday afternoon, Ally Anderson, a senior, stood in front of the Rock, quietly paying her respects to the students who were killed before she would leave campus and drive home to Danville, Ky. The message supporting concealed carry had already been painted over.

“I think it’s, like, really insensitive at the moment,” Ms. Anderson said. “It feels like there’s already so many guns, that if they did help, we would have been safe.”

Sarah Forsyth, 18, a freshman studying communications, was in her dorm room on Monday night when she heard of the shooting on campus. She felt safe there, she said, because a student ID is required to enter each floor of the dorm.

But other parts of campus, such as the student union and classroom buildings, are generally open to the public, Ms. Forsyth said.

“Before all this happened, I never felt there was any threat to safety or anything like that,” she said. “I felt very secure on campus.”

David Carter, a professor at Michigan State who is an expert on policing, said that in general, American college campuses are still extraordinarily safe places, and that limiting access was both impractical and antithetical to the spirit of openness at universities.

“If we have completely secure buildings at a university, that seems to undermine our academic freedom, and freedom and thought that we want,” he said. “You’re dealing with adults, not schoolchildren. They have their own inherent freedoms.”

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