As the reality sinks in of the Dec. 4 stabbing at Binghamton University, some prospective students and alumni say that the tragic incident will have a minimal impact on their ties to the school.
Josh Ciolek, a 17-year-old high school senior from Rochester, N.Y., only heard about the attack once he got to campus for his tour and read about it in the newspaper.
“At first I was curious about why something like this happened. But when I saw it was a graduate student I wasn’t too concerned,” Josh Ciolek said. “Violence happens everywhere you go. I’m from Rochester and killings happen there a lot. I’ve become kind of immune to it now.”
Ciolek’s father, Larry Ciolek, had a similar reaction. He does not expect the incident to affect his input on his son’s choice of school.
“I read about the attack online and in the campus paper. It was somewhat concerning, but it really is just a random event. If it will happen here it will happen anywhere,” Larry Ciolek said.
Executive Board Director of the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation and past alumni board member Gerald Putman is saddened by the event, but does not plan to alter how the foundation donates its money.
“We have to look at the professional standpoint of the Decker Foundation. The death is a tragedy but it is an isolated incident that could happen on any campus,” said Putman, who was a member of the undergraduate class of 1976 and received his masters in 1984. “It’s not because it’s Binghamton University. These things happen. We can point to Virginia Tech, we can point to other universities who have had similar types of tragedies.”
In the past Putman has been an avid supporter of the University, as are other alumni who remain involved and continue to donate. He credits any loss in donations from alumni, if at all, to the controversy surrounding the men’s basketball team, rather than the stabbing, especially for those people whose donations are based on athletics.
Putman continued to emphasize the fact that people need to move forward.
“When all is done, I think people will find that the athletic program is still a quality program,” he noted.
According to Tara Blackman, a senior psychology major and tour guide, all prospective students and their families that attend the tours and information sessions are briefed on the University’s security measures and any questions are welcome.
“After something major happens, all the tour guides are sent an e-mail about how to deal with the event professionally,” Blackman said. “The actual event is not a reflection of the University but how we handle it is, so I made sure to detail safety measures campus takes … I feel that our University has a good grip on safety.”