How have you been coping, Wesleyan? A ton of people are going home today, or already have, and the campus is eerily quiet. And not many of you are in the mood for finals preparation.
Because I barely spoke to anyone outside my circle of friends today, here is a cobbling together of Wes student reactions from various news sources.
“We went from the height of our mood where everyone was really happy the semester was over to we don’t even know what to think,” said Darien Combs, a 20-year-old sophomore from Denver. “We’re just processing.”
Wesleyan officials told students to stay indoors and staff members to stay home. Most buildings on campus, including cafeterias and the library, were locked. Normally bustling sidewalks were empty, and police cruisers patrolled the campus of the elite liberal arts school.
In dorms, students in flip-flops, gym shorts and pajama pants shuffled downstairs to pick up box lunches.
“We’re supposed to do some work, but really I just keep checking my e-mail and checking on friends and letting people from home know that I’m OK,” said freshman Christina Yow of China. “Anything to distract.”
Brenna Galvin, a sophomore from Amherst, N.H., said her family was considering bringing her home. “It’s hard to know what to do,” she said. “Really, we’re just trying to keep in touch with people at home.”
The university’s Usdan Center was opened briefly Thursday night so students could have dinner, but they were asked to return to their dormitories by nightfall.
The center of campus was quiet Wednesday evening, with a few students walking about. “It almost feels like a ghost town,” said Beth Davies, a 21-year-old senior.
“Everybody’s on edge,” said Romaine Hall, 19, a sophomore biology major and one of the few people who ventured out on Thursday, several hours before the suspect was in police custody.
Micah Feiring, the sophomore class representative to student government, said it was “a difficult situation,” adding that the school administration had delivered lunches to many students who live on campus as an incentive to keep them indoors.[…] At the eight-story, tan-colored Hi-Rise dormitory, where Ms. Justin-Jinich, a junior from Colorado, lived, many students did not even set foot outside until cars pulled up to the doors to pick them up. In the windows, several students could be seen talking on cellphones and peering below while waiting for a ride.
“If they don’t catch him, I don’t know if I will come back,” said one 20-year-old student who lived in the dorms with Ms. Justin-Jinich and was packing a sedan with her friend. The two planned to take shelter in a house in another part of Connecticut until the situation was resolved.
Not far away, Lily Mandlin and Gianna Palmer, two juniors, sat in their university-owned house, holed up in a bedroom with the shades drawn. Both said that they were rattled by the episode and that the campus had not yet had a chance to mourn Ms. Justin-Jinich because of concerns about safety.
“Most people are leaving campus right now,” said Ms. Palmer, adding that she had spent the night in Ms. Mandlin’s room because she feared being alone.
The women also spoke of the strange disconnect between the shooting and the giddy mood of Spring Fling, an annual event held on Wednesday to celebrate of the end of classes, featuring movies, games, parties and rock concerts. The day, Ms. Palmer said, was “supposed to be the most fun day of the year.” Ms. Mandlin added, “Everyone was trying to compute the whole thing while slightly intoxicated.”
A few parents bustled about the residential neighborhoods surrounding the campus, helping their children load their belongings into cars. One man, who declined to give his name, said he was “very worried” and “never expected anything like this to happen at Wesleyan.”
One student, Ryan Roger, 21, said the lockdown was a bad idea. “I don’t know if this is the vibration we really need at this point,” Mr. Roger said. “To keep these kids in fear and propagate the legitimacy of these threats is not what I want to see from the university.”
Most students, however, seemed to be more like Emily Tyrer, 20, who ducked out of her dorm on Thursday, bound for New York City with a friend.
“I’m really freaked out about it,” Ms. Tyrer said, adding that these last few days between the end of classes and the start of finals are usually spent blowing off steam.
“It’s just scary the way campus changed so fast.”