Editorial: UK should have told students about pistol-whipping



Members of Big Blue Nation are passionate about UK sports, and with that passion can come the tendency to engage in irresponsible behavior. This was on full display Saturday at the UK football game against  the University of Louisville game, when a UK fan was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and second-degree assault after two people were pistol-whipped in the parking lot of Commonwealth Stadium.

Police said Paul Walters got into an argument after UK’s defeat at the hands of the Cardinals. He proceeded to pull out a pistol and strike two people in the head, according to police. The victims were treated and released.

But what’s most unusual about this situation is that this editorial is probably the first time many UK students are hearing about the situation, because no UK Alert was ever sent out. No text, phone call or email about the situation was ever dispersed to students.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said the university did not send out a UK Alert because the threat was contained within a minute. The alert system is used for emergencies when there is an active threat.

In situations like Saturday’s pistol-whip debacle, in which the hazard is swiftly contained, sending out a campus-wide notification seems pointless. In all likelihood an alert would just startle students about a danger that is no longer present.

For similar situations in the future, President Eli Capilouto or the UK Police Department should consider sending out a campus-wide email the following day informing students of the situation. This way students can rightfully have access to information in which someone pulled out a gun on campus, but also avoid the panic that could ensue with a UK Alert.

After all, the university sends campus-wide emails in the wake of sexual assaults and other criminal activity on campus. UK officials should give the same courtesy to situations involving firearms, especially considering the high number of notable shootings on college campuses.

Students have a right to know about hazardous situations on campus, especially regarding firearms. But Saturday’s assault did not turn lethal, no shots were fired and the suspect was quickly taken into custody.

Sending out an alert would have been the equivalent of notifying students about a fire that had already been extinguished.

[email protected]