Last spring, I wrote an article about why I chose the University of Arizona and how it was the right choice for me. I have some revisions.
When I wrote the article, I was sure that the UA was for me and I loved so many things about the college. Then, last semester happened.
Two instances stick out: the Oct. 5 shooting and death of professor Thomas Meixner and the harassment of a fellow Daily Wildcat opinions writer over an article. The university did not handle either situation well. There were also multiple shootings around campus and at the high-rise apartments across the street from campus.
On Oct. 6, students and faculty returned to campus as if nothing had happened. There were still news trucks outside the John W. Harshbarger building when I walked to class less than 24 hours after the murder occurred. We were given no time to grieve and process the tragedy that rocked our community. We need to be able to trust the people who are supposed to protect us.
After the shooting, my mental health tanked, and I felt unsafe going to my classes. I know I was not the only one, as survivors of school shootings often experience PTSD, depression and anxiety. Also, students’ attendance rates and test scores drop. School shootings do not only affect victims, they impact everyone in the community.
When a fellow writer published an article about a well-known TikToker, I was thrilled that she could express her mind. I was appalled when she told me about the death threats and other heinous comments she received. The UA dean of students did seemingly nothing to help her with the aftermath. The writer should not have been going through the harassment alone, and the university should have stepped in when it happened.
I am a sophomore, but I plan on graduating a year early because I cannot wait to get away from this university. College is supposed to be the "best years" of your life, but over the past few months it has become apparent that it will not happen. I have opened the transfer portal more times than I can count, but I can’t leave because some of my credits will not transfer.
Mental health issues have recently increased among college students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Phycological Association, about 60% of college students experienced some type of mental illness in the 2020-21 school year, and, according to Bloom Health Centers, 21% of counseling center students have experienced serious mental health concerns. Students are under a lot of stress, contributing to their mental health issues like depression and anxiety. With the added stress of wanting to transfer, students’ health can plummet.
There are many other things wrong with the UA, but I had missed them, especially during my freshman year because I was in a little bubble that did not want to believe I had made the wrong decision for college. Looking back at writing my old article, I did not realize I could criticize the university, but now I’m not afraid to do it.
The people who have the power to change, the president and the provost, should be doing more for their students. Colleges are supposed to protect their students and make sure the campus is a safe environment for everyone. Things need to change for people to feel safe. I don’t think I could ever trust the UA fully and fully love being a student here again.
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Kelly Marry (she/her) is a sophomore studying journalism and public relations. She loves to read and travel in her free time.