Accessibility links


US Students Struggle to Understand College Community Shootings

California students and faculty are trying to understand last week's mass shooting, which took place near a college campus in Santa Barbara.

The campus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was shaken after Friday's rampage that claimed seven lives, including that of the killer.

At California State University, Los Angeles, students have been trying to make sense of a senseless incident.

A chilling manifesto and threatening YouTube videos revealed a killer with an intense hatred of women. Student Deshna Majmudar said that reflects a wider lack of respect for women.

“We would like to think that men and women are held equal, but actually we're still living in a somewhat misogynistic society,” said Majmudar.

Student Victoria Kause sees the same message in the violent incident. She said women are taught to fear men, not knowing if they are violent.

“We should have a healthy respect for each other instead of fearing one another because of our gender,” said Kause.

At the nearby University of Southern California, most students are gone for the summer break.

The dean of religious life, Varun Soni, said the attack left them unsettled too, because they know violence can strike anywhere.

“And so when it happens on any campus, people think this could have been my campus. ‘This could have been me,’” said Soni.

Cal State psychologist Jonna Fries said students can get counseling for psychological problems, and get mental health advice online. She said Cal State LA, like other colleges, has an emergency plan in the case of violence, but the bigger day-to-day challenge is getting students to ask for help from college counselors. She said one in four Americans could meet the criteria for a mental health disorder.

“Ages 18 to 29, which is what we see on college campuses, it's 43 percent. Over the lifetime, 50 percent of us will have a mental health disorder. So it's not this 'us versus them' that we like to pretend it is,” said Fries.

USC Dean Varun Soni said American colleges are effective places of learning.

“But we also need to train our students on how to be good citizens, how to be good partners, how to be good friends,” said Soni.

And, he said, we need to stop the violence.

Show comments