As many of you know, I am a proud graduate of Transylvania University. The faculty, staff, and student body embody acceptance, love, and support and make Transylvania home to everyone who enters into the community. Transylvania is where I became the intelligent, accepting, passionate person that I am today and I owe the school everything.
Today, Transylvania came under attack. A former student walked into the campus coffee shop with a bag of weapons, pulled out a knife, and began questioning student’s political affiliations. He claimed that today was a “day of reckoning” and attacked a first-year student who identified as democrat with a machete. Thankfully, her injuries were not life threatening and she is going to be okay. The efforts of Ms. Erika, the Department of Public Safety, and President Carey were amazing and they handled the situation in an amazing way – President Carey was apparently one of the first people to tackle the attacker. The school was placed on lockdown and classes for the day were later canceled.
I’ve experienced almost every emotion possible today. When I first heard the news that there was an attacker on Transy’s campus, I felt fear: fear for my friends who are still students, fear for the safety of the faculty and staff who mean so much to me, fear due to the helpless feeling I had being 500 miles away, and fear that this attack will tarnish the Transylvania experience for all those on campus. I quickly began messaging my friends on campus for May Term to make sure they were okay, started scanning Facebook for any information about the attack, and prayed harder than I have in a very long time. Once the fear subsided, I felt overwhelming sadness that someone would attack the community I love so much.
Next, I got angry – angry at the attacker for feeling that his neonazi views allowed him to attack those who didn’t agree with him and mad at the current political climate that allows neonazi’s to thrive. I became especially angry when my conservative friends at other institutions started posting “let’s not make this attack about politics”, when it very clearly was.
Now, I just feel violated. Transylvania, to me, is a place of acceptance, tolerance, and learning. Transy is where all of my favorite memories were made: where I met my best friends, where I discovered my passion for archaeology, where I was given the opportunity to travel abroad, and where I learned to truly love life. This attacker entered the campus where he was once a community member and violated that community with his hateful actions. He took everything good about Transylvania, turned it upside down, and embodied everything Transy goes against: hate, intolerance, and violence.
Transy teaches its students to be open-minded, resolve conflict through active discussion, and to be accepting of everyone, regardless of their various identities. This attack was terrible, but I know it won’t put a dent in the Transylvania community. Transylvania will always be home to everyone who has been a part of it. In Lumine Illo Tradimus Lumen.