College counselors were ready to help on Jan. 23

The gunman on Jan. 23 may have been a hoax, but at the time it sent students, families and the community into a panic as they tried to get a handle on the situation.

The college counselors sprang into action that night to help the students on campus deal with the event.

Director of Counseling Services Rachel Rose, LPC, who was alerted to the situation by phone call, immediately contacted Dean of Students, Jewell Worley to gather information.

Worley verified the lockdown and asked Rose to be on standby and prepare to come to campus to check on students, Rose said.

Rose contacted the other counselors, Tabitha Smith and Sara Schill, so they could be ready to help students once it was safe.

Even though the incident was false, the lockdown caused “very real emotional reactions,” Rose said.

In response to these reactions, the counselors visited residence halls from the time that the lockdown was lifted to about 2:15 a.m. the next day.

“We walked through the halls and knocked on RA’s doors,” Rose said. “[We] asked if they knew of any students that were in distress. We talked to numerous students that night and followed-up with several in our office on Thursday.”

Senior music and communication studies major Bo Endean was one of many students who appreciated the counselors’ post-event visit.

“They did a great job,” Endean said. “I’m really happy they were there for the students.”

Other students didn’t feel like they needed counseling.

“I didn’t feel the need to go see a counselor,” said sophomore English major Autumn Adams. “It was unexpected but not traumatizing.”

Brad Morris, a junior music major, praised the actions of the counselors and police during and after the incident.

“They just wanted to make sure everyone knew it was a hoax and make sure students were safe,” Morris said.

The counselors, located in the Center for Student Development in Cantrell Hall, are available every week day for students who would like to talk about the events of Jan. 23 or any other issue, Rose said.

Emily Baxter

Communication studies major Emily Baxter served as a staff writer for The Highland Cavalier for the 2012-2013 academic year. She previously contributed as a columnist.

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