Olson Hall residents shelter in place after shooting


Freshman public relation major Kate Schwanke was on the first floor of Olson Hall when a shot was fired outside of Bowman Hall. Olson is the residence hall directly across the Esplanade from Bowman.

Martin Harp

Kent State students are still in shock after a gun was fired outside Bowman Hall on Wednesday. Some students were closer to the event than they wanted to be. Residents from Olson Hall, which is directly across the Esplanade from Bowman Hall, had mixed reactions to Wednesday night’s shooting.

Anne Roux, Olson Hall resident and freshman journalism major, said the events were nothing like she had ever experienced and she just wanted to make sure everyone knew she was fine.

“I had pretty much the worst panic attack ever,” Roux said. “I assumed the worst was happening and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I need to call my family.’ I go past Bowman every single day, and to see it surrounded by cops was so surreal.”

Roux said she believed the residence hall was a safe place to be during the event.

“The RAs have a way of getting every one at ease,” she said. “I can’t even get in my dorm half the time, so I couldn’t see an intruder getting in. They are pretty safe.”

James Longstreth, Olson Hall resident and sophomore business management major, said the atmosphere in the residence hall was very surreal with the police on campus.

“Everyone was just surprised,” Longstreth said. “Everyone was really quiet and we didn’t know what to say or do. The RAs made everyone feel safe and they knew what was going on.”

Some residents, such as freshman public relations major Kate Schwanke, were scared mostly because of how close the event happened to their residence hall.

“I started hyperventilating; I was freaking out,” she said. “We heard it was right across from Olson in Bowman, so that made it even scarier because it’s so close to home and we weren’t quite sure what was going on. So I was very freaked out.”

Shane Beneke, Olson Hall resident and freshman public relations major, said he wasn’t afraid until the situation became real to him.

“I wasn’t freaking out until I heard the voice over the intercom,” Beneke said. “That’s when I knew something was wrong. It was overwhelming and it was weird to think something like this could happen on campus and

so close to me.”

Nicole Jelinek, Olson Hall resident and freshman journalism major, said the proximity is what really frightened her.

“It was really scary because it was on campus,” Jelinek said. “It was weird because it was right across from where I live.”

However, one resident thought the situation was exaggerated. Tyler Bronson, Olson Hall resident and freshman visual communication design major, said he just shrugged off the event.

“Stuff happens; it really wasn’t that big of an incident,” Bronson said. “We live in America; everyone has guns. It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again.”

Kent State President Lester Lefton said in an email sent to the Kent community that he is proud of how everyone reacted to the situation.

“I’m proud of the students and staff who rose to the moment by calming others during the lockdown,” Lefton wrote. “The safety of everyone on campus has [been] and remains my top priority.”

Contact Martin Harp at [email protected].