Opinion: The shooting on Chrisway Dr. was a big deal, BSU fell short on supporting students

Monday, March 15, at around 11:30 p.m., I was watching T.V. with my roommate in our dorm at Clearwater Suites. Both of us heard a number of loud noises, but that was nothing new. Dorm life is never quiet, so we thought nothing of these noises. That was until 15 minutes later, when I was getting ready for bed, my roommate asked me if I had gotten the BroncoAlert. 

The alert was sent out at 11:45 p.m. and read “Shooting reported at 1410 Chrisway/Jade Hall. 1 victim shot. Unknown if suspect(s) in the area. Stay out of area.” A second alert told those nearby to shelter-in-place, until 12:47 a.m. when the order was lifted, letting people know that two suspects were taken into custody. 

To say the least, Monday night was a nerve-wracking event. Living on the first floor of a building in the same lot as Jade Hall was frightening, and even after being notified that the suspects were in custody, I was still scared. 

The police had set up in the parking lot right beside my dorm, and I could hear their search. My friend, who lives a few floors above me, had a clear vantage point of the police presence, even saying she saw medics transporting a stretcher to an ambulance. 

Police did not leave until well past 3 a.m., and despite the all-clear sent earlier, I could hear them from my room, moving around until then. Due to the BroncoAlert clearly stating that the shooting had occurred on campus, near or in Jade Hall, I spent the entire night sleepless, worried a student had been killed entirely too close for comfort. 

[Photo of Chrisway Dr. near Boise State campus.]
Photo by Paige Wirta | The Arbiter

It was not until after 3:15 p.m. the day following the shooting that university officials reached out to let students know what had happened or that the shooting technically had not occured on campus, as we were initially told. 

I, along with my peers and my parents, were incredibly shocked to not have received any information or resources prior to the 3:15 p.m. email from Dean of Students Christian Wuthrich. I had spent the entirety of Monday night and most of Tuesday extremely concerned for my safety and heartbroken at the loss of someone on campus. 

To not have been reached out to quickly the following day was incredibly disappointing. It felt as if the university expected students just to go on with their lives as if nothing had happened, though we heard someone get shot on Chrisway Dr. 

Speaking with a student the night of the shooting, we both expressed expectations that the university would reach out to the campus community early the next morning, perhaps even cancel university classes and/or activities as well. It was a mortifying experience that affected students and community members whether or not they lived on campus. The very knowledge that someone had been shot and killed only a few feet from campus was a traumatic thing. 

In my mind, it seemed like the university was trying very hard to push the fact that the shooting had occured off campus. While this is the case, it was not very far away, only a few houses away from my dorm. Not only that, but students were initially told that the shooting had happened not only on campus, but on or near Jade Hall. 

Further, police presence was on campus. We were informed by University Suites Resident Director Jackie Mayfield that Boise Police had “set up a command post in [the University Suites] community.” They were set up close enough that I could hear the police searching in our area, and in some instances I could even hear them speaking. 

Suffice to say, the shooting that occurred March 15 was a traumatic experience for myself and many community members. I had a number of hopes for responses from the university, but I strongly feel that the university fell short in their responsibility to support students through something that had occurred so close to student life.

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