Administrators have expressed their concerns about the shooting that occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. Saturday, and resulted in the death of Jessica Moore.
The University notified the Seton Hall community via broadcast e-mail at 1:50 p.m. on Saturday, of an off-campus shooting at a house party.
Seton Hall students did not receive any information from the University about the shooting prior to the broadcast e-mail.
Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Joan Guetti said, “My understanding is that sirens and texts are meant to alert the campus community during an ongoing “on campus” situation that impacts safety.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Laura Wankel explained in an e-mail interview, the reasoning behind the University’s choice to wait to inform the community of what had happened.
According to Wankel, the University did not want to report any inaccurate information so they waited to meet with the involved agencies to confirm the facts of the situation.
“The investigating law enforcement agencies reported no indications of a continuing threat to the University community,” Wankel said. “Had a continuing threat existed, law enforcement would have notified the University and a broadcast would have been made immediately to the University community.”
Thomas White, the associate vice president of Public Relations and Marketing commented on the University’s distribution of information about the incident.
According to White, although the campus was not in immediate danger, many students were hearing rumors and receiving misinformation.
“If I had a do-over, I would have sent something out to the students very early Saturday morning, letting them know that campus was safe and secure,” White said.
Christopher Kaiser, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, noted that he felt the information was appropriately distributed in a timely manner, being that the incident had taken place off-campus.
Kaiser also said, “Whenever a young person, loses their life, I feel a serious pain and resurgence of doubt as to the safety of anyone, anywhere. However, Seton Hall remains a safe campus and will continue to act
in the best interest of our family.”
Interim President Dr. Gabriel Esteban addressed the media in front of the Ring building at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
On Monday, a video message from Esteban was posted on the Seton Hall website in regards to the tragedy, the words transmitted in the video were also sent in a broadcast e-mail.
“I had the privilege to spend most of Saturday with Jessica’s family at UMDNJ along with the family of one of the other injured students,” Esteban said. “So many other members of the Seton Hall community were there at UMDNJ or at the hospital where the other student was being cared for, as well. The shooting at the party has had an incalculable impact on all of them – and all of us.”
Being parents, both Esteban and Guetti had an immediate connection with those involved.
Esteban’s daughter attends the University and he noted when addressing the media outside of the Ring building that his instinct was to go home and hold his child.
“As a parent, I find it difficult to think about how I would react if my son were harmed in such a violent, senseless way. I would hope that I could find some solace in my faith,” Guetti said.
Whether knowing Moore personally or not, the Seton Hall community has been affected by the tragedy.
“I didn’t know Jessica, but I’m sure that I feel the way many others do, which is, she has changed my life,” White said. “Her example is serving as an inspiration to me and shook the world.”
Nicole Bitette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brenden Higashi contributed to this report.
Editor-in-Chief Brian Wisowaty contributed to this report.