Student reactions to Friday’s evacuation

Weekday classes resumed at Pierce College on Monday June 2, after a school-wide evacuation took place Friday, May 30 due to the possibility of a gunman on campus.

In order to communicate with students, Pierce’s administration sent out a combination of about nine automated email and text message alerts throughout a course of an hour on Friday morning.

The text alerts which at first didn’t include the location or reason of the evacuation, later instructed students to “remain calm” and to leave or stay away from the premises.

Follow up emails and texts were sent out later on that day stating that “the situation [was] under control” but that Pierce would remain closed for the remaining of the day.

Axel Gaitan an 18-year-old stage and lighting design major said he was satisfied with the way the school’s administration notified the students.

“I felt it was good they sent a bunch of messages,” Gaitan said.

However some students like Robert Atienza, a criminal justice major weren’t notified.

“I didn’t get the email but I feel the campus police handled the situation as best as they could,” Atienza said. “I would like to see more of their presence on campus though.”

Other students who were notified like Amanda Nogues, a child development major at Pierce said the alerts weren’t sufficient.

“I got the message but it didn’t have enough information; it didn’t sound urgent enough,” Nogues said.

John Corial, a music major said he was also confused about what exactly happened on campus.

 “I didn’t understand what was going on until after, when I saw it in the news,” Corial said.

Like Corial, some students used outside sources like local television stations and social media as their source for information.

“There was a lot of he-said she-said,” Katie Curtis, a wildlife biology major said. “Most of what I heard was from my friends on Facebook.” Curtis, who was in Santa Clarita when she heard about the campus evacuation said.

Although several students heard about the evacuation, many remained uninterested like Victoria Driscolle, an 18-year-old business major.

“I kind of forgot about it,” Driscolle said. “I’m not concerned. I still feel pretty safe at school and maybe he had personal issues at home or was stressed out; it is finals week.”

Unlike Driscolle, Julia Ochoa, 20, a theater arts major said she does not feel safe at Pierce.

“It’s scary,” Ochoa said. “Sometimes I’m in the library and think that anyone can really go in and just shoot up the place.”

 Ochoa also said she disagreed with the instructions that were given by the administration.

“Wouldn’t it have been better to have a lockdown instead of an evacuation? I mean, if there’s a shooter out there then suddenly there’s more people outdoors for him to shoot,” Ochoa said. “It’s a sad world and I just don’t feel safe.”