Universities should provide safe housing enviroments for Greek Life
Two men get rejected at the door of a fraternity house party, come back later and open fire on a house full of college students. One student is fatally wounded while trying to save others, including some of his closest friends.
Eerily, this short summary is based on true events that occurred on Feb. 6 at Youngstown State University.
The similarities between what occurred at the Ohio state school’s Omega Psi Phi fraternity house earlier this month and the tragedy that struck the Seton Hall community on a late September night at a house party on South Clinton Street are hard to ignore.
25-year-old Youngstown State student Jamail Johnson lost his life to make sure other people did not get hurt, much like our own Jessica Moore.
When the two alleged shooters opened fire at the Omega Psi Phi house, Johnson ran towards them both, and forced them out of the house, according to theexaminer.com, a local Youngstown newspaper.
In total, 11 students were injured that night at the Youngstown fraternity house. This number would have been much larger if Johnson did not sacrifice himself, according to multiple reports that cite the Youngtown police.
Just like the South Clinton Street house, the Youngstown fraternity house is off-campus, in a neighborhood that is not known for its safety.
In his interview with theexaminer. com, Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes described the Omega Psi Phi abode as “a two-story brick house in a neighborhood of once-elegant homes, many of which are now boarded up.”
Hughes also said that the house party was “bustling with 50 or more people” at the time of shooting.
One witness who was at the South Clinton Street house party on the night of Sept. 25 said the party was so packed that she felt like she was in a “can of sardines.”
That these two terrible events occurred within four months of each other should be causing concern to college administrators all over the country.
Schools that recognize fraternities and sororities, even institutions that do not condone underage drinking, need to make sure that the houses of members of Greek organizations live in are in safe areas.
Every fraternity and sorority house off campus that Seton Hall affiliated Greek organization members live in represents the University.
There may be no royal blue sign dug into the front lawn of every Greek house that screams “this is a Seton Hall building,” even though those very signs can be seen in front of the off campus Health Services Center, Ring Building, St. Andrew’s Hall and the human resources building, but the safety of students should be the main concern of the University.
As someone who reported on the tragic incident that happened in late September at Seton Hall, one memory has always stood out to me more than any other.
When four other Setonian editors and I were leaving the East Orange Courthouse the night that East Orange Police Department released the names of the two alleged shooters, there was a group of East Orange residents outside the building. An older woman came up to us and asked something along the lines of “How in God’s name does your school allow a group of students to live in an area like East Orange?” I had no answer for her and if she were to come up to me and ask again, months later, I still would not be able to give her a straight answer.
Nicholas Parco is a junior journalism major from Hazlet, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.