As campus settles from last week’s tense standoff between students and confrontational protesters which ended in the apprehension of both a student and a faculty member, the question on everyone’s mind is: what now?
“The events of Wednesday were significant not only because of the vitriol offered by the demonstrators who came to the campus, but because the day’s events underscored concerns and emotions felt by many in our community,” President Brian Casey stated in an email that was sent to students, faculty and staff on Monday.
In the email, Casey highlights plans to meet with community leaders, both in the university and Greencastle to review the events that took place on Wednesday’s and to “ensure that the University and the City are prepared to protect members of our community both this week and in the future.”
The protesters from The Campus Ministry USA plan to return to DePauw this Wednesday, and Casey indicated that the university plans to do what it can to make their presence on campus less problematic for the mental well-being of students as well as helping to prevent another violent outcome.
“We have limited legal power,” Vice President of Student Life, Christopher Wells said.
Wells is working with students to help continue conversations about campus community while also coordinating a response in case of the protesters' return.
“I have had a lot of conversations with student leaders on what it means to be a caring community,” Wells said.
Some of these efforts went into two events that took place Monday night.
There was a meeting for ally awareness in the Union Building Ballroom that was open to all students, faculty and staff. It focused on learning allied behaviors and ways to encourage students to help their classmates in times of trouble.
“I think this is a great opportunity for everyone to improve their ability to handle situations like the demonstration,” junior Evie Brosius said.
The ally meeting has been in the works since Wednesday’s demonstration and worked to teach students, faculty and staff how to be a positive ally. At the end of the discussion, people were broken up in to groups to discuss scenarios that might take place on campus and how to respond to them.
There was also a meeting at the same time for students and faculty of color in Reese Hall to discuss the events of last week and to heal and come together as a community.
“The 6:30 p.m. event in Reese Hall this evening is for Students of Color to come together with Faculty/Staff of Color in community,” stated Myrna Hernandez, Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Living & Community Development, in an email sent to faculty and staff on Monday night.
The meeting was held at the same time as the meeting for allies, at 6:30 p.m.
“Overall the goal is for all members of our community to be in one of two places this evening if they wish to do so,” Hernandez stated.
The LGBTQ community will be hosting an event today at 7 p.m. for LGBTQ students and faculty in the Queer Center, which is on the top floor of the Dorothy Brown House.
“We want to see how we can ally with other groups that were hurt too,” said sophomore and member of United DePauw, Zoe Hines.
United DePauw is encouraging students who either identify as LGBTQ or those who are friends or allies of LGBTQ students to dress in rainbow clothes on Wednesday to show pride, regardless of whether or not The Campus Ministry USA return.
“It’s difficult for people to reach out,” Hines said, “Let your manner of clothing speak for you.”
In the days following the protest, many people have voiced concern over DePauw’s overall safety.
In an effort to address these concerns Casey stated in his email that money will be allocated to campus security and equipment will be upgraded immediately.
“I was directed yesterday to allocate dollars for enhanced camera technology,” Vice President of Finances and Administration, Brad Kelsheimer wrote in an email.
The university plans to spend an estimated $200,000 on the replacement of security cameras along with widening the viewing zone.
As DePauw braces for another run-in with protesters this Wednesday, the university hopes that it is doing what it can to ensure the safety of campus and to rebuild DePauw’s community.