U of I’s Steven Kazmierczak’s connection with the NIU shooting

By Anahita Monga

It’s been a year since the shootings at NIU shocked everyone, but even today, University officials feel great sadness that it was a University of Illinois student who was responsible.

Steven Kazmierczak was a graduate student in the School of Social Work at the University.

“(Kazmierczak) was a good student and the School of Social Work had no idea he was hurting,” said Robin Kaler, associate chancellor and director of public affairs.

The University was bombarded with media the day after the incident, and the School of Social Work still grieves about the consequences.

“We have mixed emotions,” Kaler said. “We’re shocked and sad that something like this has happened and it has affected every one of us.”

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    Although students at the University were not directly affected by the incident, it still hit close to home.

    “It sort of freaks me out that anyone can sort of walk on campus, because it’s not like we have gates or anything,” said Lecretia Williams, freshman in LAS.

    The University cannot ensure that something of this sort will not happen on its campus, but several precautions have been taken since last year.

    Students on campus have several facilities to help them in the case of an emergency.

    In addition to the phone booths placed all over campus, “the University has a new system and a new provider for text messaging that sends information to students and faculty in an emergency,” Kaler said.

    Since last year, there has also been a huge spike in the registration of the program in which students can receive information and updates if there is an emergency.

    “I’m OK with the precautions that they’ve already taken to provide assistance to us,” said Drew Larkin, sophomore in LAS.

    The fact that it was a University student responsible for the shootings disturbs many students.

    “It’s pretty weird to think that there could be anyone with a gun in Greg Hall or something. There’s so many people, its unsafe, but I try not to think of the possibilities,” Williams said.

    However, students should be aware that this type of incident can occur at this University, and they should be prepared to respond to the emergency.

    “I would probably not be scared and would try to act fast and do whatever I could do to ensure safety,” said Mike Looby, sophomore in Engineering.