A professor at the University of North Dakota is pledging to repeatedly call the police on campus military cadets in protest against the school’s decision to let them hold drills on campus while carrying guns.
English professor Heidi Czerwiec had a letter published in the Grand Forks Herald Sunday where she describes encountering armed Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets and becoming so terrified that she immediately called police.
I look up from my office computer to see two figures in camo with guns outside my window. My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911. The dispatcher keeps me on the line until someone can see if ROTC is doing maneuvers.
I can barely talk— first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them. They thank me for reporting it.
A few minutes later, a university officer calls me back— not to reassure me, but to scold me for calling 911. He says ROTC has permission to do this exercise. When I tell him that this was news to 911 and that they encouraged me to call whenever I see a gun on campus, he seems surprised.
When told that ROTC will be performing on-campus drills for the next several weeks, Czerwiec promises to keep reporting them.
“I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks— and I will. Every time,” she said.
Czerwiec justifies her position by claiming that “tensions” at University of North Dakota (UND) are running high, creating an environment where students and faculty should fear the outbreak of a mass shooting at any moment.
“Apparently, it’s not enough that UND’s administration is attacking the quality of education by cutting programs and experienced faculty and jacking class sizes,” she wrote. “Now, we must also feel under physical attack as well.”
In a statement sent to SayAnythingBlog, UND spokesman Peter Johnson said the school had already sent a campuswide email to let students and staff know that ROTC would be holding public exercises throughout the spring term. In response to Czerwiec’s letter, he said the school would also provide specific notifications for each drill while also sending a personal notice to Czerwiec herself. It’s not clear whether these notices will make Czerwiec revise her pledge to repeatedly call the police.
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