On Monday, Jan. 25, at around 1 p.m., the entire student body of Southern received an email with the same ominous message: “Southern administration has called a brief emergency Zoom meeting for all students and employees tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26, at 11 a.m. Please plan to attend.”
Because this email was sent with no context, many students panicked as they tried to figure out what this meeting would be about. This may have been due to the fact that a little under a year ago when the pandemic first took a turn for the worse, we were sent home in a similar manner — a text message and email was sent to us all, telling us to pack up and go home.
“It was irresponsible of Southern’s administration to use fear tactics on an already stressed population of students still recovering from the multiple traumas experienced within 2020,” said Isabella Eklund, sophomore social work major.
Others seemed to share this same sentiment. An Instagram poll was recently done asking students, “Do you think SAU was irresponsible to send the ‘emergency meeting’ text without any context?” Out of 50 votes, 86% said “yes.” The handful of students that voted “no” seemed to believe that administration had good reason to approach the situation the way they did.
“I feel like it was appropriate of Southern to send such an anxiety inducing text so that the urgency of COVID would be spread across campus in a way that students would listen,” said Lynn Deaux, sophomore social work major.
Marie Rodriguez seemed to share a similar sentiment. “Because it’s an emergency meeting, if they didn’t call it one, not that many people would feel compelled to join.”
However, the 86% that considered the administration’s actions to be irresponsible didn’t find this to be a good enough reason for the unpromising message that was sent out.
“Sending students into a state of panic is not the same as giving an urgent alert,” said Hannah Scalzo, sophomore English major.
Junior mass communication major Josue Vega also said, “It caused unnecessary and easily dispelled panic.”
Overall, although the Southern administration may have had good intentions — perhaps wanting to get the message out as fast as they possibly could — it ultimately did not achieve the results that it may have had in mind. 2020 was a panic-filled year for all of us, and an email claiming an emergency with no context or explanation seemed to only add to this anxiety. Hopefully, administration will learn from this experience and be a bit more cautious during this pandemic.