Inappropriate Response to NIU tragedy

By Steve Ishmael

I was unbelievably disappointed to hear that the office of Illinois Gov. Blagojevich confirmed that Cole Hall, the site of the NIU tragedy will be demolished a replaced with a new state of the art building called memorial hall. This seems to be the worse way to cope with loss. Unless this building is on the eve of collapse, I can not comprehend why Illinois tax dollars are going to go towards demolishing a structure and building a new ‘memorial’ structure.

This is not the type of memorial that is going to help comfort the families affected by this terrible tragedy. I feel like the demolition of Cole hall has the same amount of good policy behind it as building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Keep in mind, that if it was standard policy to replace building where tragedy occurred, many buildings in Chicago’s high crime areas would continually be replaced. Yet we do not replace these buildings because people USE them. The country needs time to morn. Families need time to morn and they do not need to be told the place where this tragedy took place is going to be swept off the earth to create something new that will be a mark of technological progress on the NIU landscape.

Now is not the time to mark this tragedy with construction signs and fences that read “danger do not cross”. Those profound words were the words people wished they had read before the tragedy that morning. But now it is time for us all to cross back through those doors that represent danger and restore the space with hope.

It is time to rebuild and regain our hope and trust in each other and the security of our Universities. We need to be advocates for the families and help them rebuild and keep wasteful dollars for new construction to go towards reconstructing these families’ lives.