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Stu­dents waiting in student union during Wednesday’s lock down. Courtesy | Brendan Noble

After learning the potential threat made against Hillsdale College on Wednesday allegedly came from a student for­merly enrolled at Hillsdale, stu­dents said they were sur­prised and con­cerned for their former classmate.

The suspect was arrested in Cold­water on Wednesday shortly after 2 p.m., according to the Daily Reporter, a news­paper based in Cold­water.

Although many said they did not think much of the initial announcement about the lockdown, after learning the suspect once attended the college, stu­dents said they prayed for him and hoped that he would get medical help.

“It’s a reminder to be under­standing and gra­cious to the people you know, because there are things you don’t know about people, and things you can’t see,” sophomore Bobbie Briggs said.

Stu­dents said when Director of Security William Whorley ini­tially sent an email to stu­dents, faculty, and staff about campus being put on lockdown at 12:26 p.m., they still felt secure, expecting the incident to end shortly.

“We didn’t know about it until after noonday prayer,” junior Monicah Wanjiru said. “The initial reaction was that stu­dents said, ‘I wonder if I can go to Gal­loway or the old snack bar.’ We were not scared. Nothing ever happens here.”

Freshman Lauren Adams said she didn’t think much of it at first.

“I thought it was just someone close to campus,” Adams said. “I mean, this is a school where we get emails about when deer season starts.”

Freshman Ade­laide Holmes was eating lunch with Pres­ident Larry Arnn when he got a phone call about the sit­u­ation.

“He was just really open and honest about what was going on,” Holmes said. “He was really peaceful, and that helped me not worry. He knew it was well-handled and under control.”

Junior Allison Deckert said she was in a class on the second floor of Lane Hall, during the lockdown, giving her a view of many police vehicles trav­eling around campus.

Shortly after sending the email, an emer­gency tele­phone call was made to stu­dents and their emer­gency con­tacts, informing them of the lockdown and that there wasn’t an imme­diate threat.

“I appre­ciated the call,” said Mike Bruno, father of senior Frank Bruno. “I wouldn’t have known what was going on without it…The first thing I thought is ‘Wow, this is the type of thing you see on the tele­vision, and now it’s hap­pening to us.’ I told Frank to lay low and contact me when it is all safe and cleared up.”

Stuck in the buildings they were in, stu­dents con­tinued mostly as they were, eating lunch and playing ping pong and card games in the Grewcock Student Union, while they waited for updates. A.J.’s Café con­tinued its service, as well.

“I was in the library, and it was really quiet, like normal,” junior Jessie Kop­meyer said. “They just asked us to move away from the windows, and the librarians were really nice, going around and asking if we wanted water.”

Some stu­dents said they did have problems with con­necting to the internet, espe­cially in the union, as people were trying to find more infor­mation about the lockdown on social media and from news reports.

After learning that the suspect in the case was a former student, however, current stu­dents said it became more per­sonal.

“I knew him,” junior Kevin Wilkinson said. “I wouldn’t ever have expected that.”

Senior Shelby Nies said she knows the former student, as well.

“I didn’t think any­thing would happen on campus,” Nies said. “I was more con­cerned for his well being.”

Adams said learning that it was a former student made her more nervous.

“That freaked me out, because it wasn’t just someone upset and near,” Adams said. “It was someone who knew the college well, and I was in the union with hun­dreds of people, and that is not a place you want to be.”

Kristina Perkins ’16 arrived to campus, during the lockdown, to visit friends. She said she hopes people still see the school as the safe campus that she expe­ri­enced for four years.

Wanjiru said junior Peter Wenger led a group of stu­dents for 30 minutes in prayer, since many of them knew him through extracur­ricular activ­ities.

“We prayed for his soul, for grace,” Wanjiru said. “We prayed for him as a friend. It was sur­prising that this was even pos­sible that a former Hillsdale student did this.”

Wenger said the former student was a good friend of his when he attended Hillsdale.

“I was con­cerned for him, and I knew that only God could restore his heart and heal his mind,” Wenger said.

Once given the all clear, campus activ­ities con­tinued as normal, and stu­dents returned to class. Bon Appétit Man­agement Company, however, did extend lunch dining hours for stu­dents who missed their meal while being held in other buildings.

After the lockdown, stu­dents said they were unclear on what hap­pened, since updates from the college to stu­dents did not hold many details, but they said they were grateful that security and police handled the sit­u­ation.

“It’s a comment that stu­dents feel safe on campus, because no one was scared by it,” Nies said. “That’s a blessing.”

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble