On Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 11:00pm a shooting took place at York University, in Toronto, Canada. Two women were harmed and transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The police arrived shortly after the incident to investigate and claim that they do not believe the victims to have been targets. On March 13, 2014 Kemon Edwards, a suspect in this crime, was arrested with charges including: discharging a firearm, endangering life, carrying a concealed weapon, and more drug and weapon related charges. In addition to Edwards four more people were arrested and are facing similar charges.
York University responded by adding additional security to the food court, where the incident took place. They have also said that they are considering the installation of security cameras. Kemon Edwards is not a student at York University, and it is not being revealed why he was on the campus.
Many students at York University are shaken up over these events, though some are not surprised that they happened. According to a student, other incidents that have happened recently at the university include assault and armed robbery.
A photo of the Toronto Police investigating the crime scene:
On the micro level this is a crisis for the two women who were injured in the shooting, as well as all of the victims of psychological trauma surrounding the incident. On the meso level, this is a crisis for York University. And, on the macro level this crisis has the potential to affect Canada, Toronto, and Toronto Universities. I think that the way that York responds to this very sensitive topic, and the actions that they take from here on out will determine how big of an impact a shooting with have on the city and its universities. What can York University do to bring back their reputation? What promises can they make to protect their students?
If York University has had a problem with safety and security in the past, why are they not more prepared to handle this situation now? It seems to me that future “consideration” of security cameras and a couple more security guards in one area aren’t going to prevent crime from happening. This is something that the university should already have a plan for. The first two questions of Zaremba’s Golden Rule Approach are: What would you want to know? and What would you need to know? In this instance, the students and their families, as well as the university’s investors want and need to know the steps that are going to be taken to ensure safety.
Zaremba, Alan Jay. Crisis Communication: Theory and Practice. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2010. Print.