- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An associate professor at the University of North Dakota called the police on two ROTC students carrying replica rifles on campus, saying the group’s practice drills are “highly inappropriate” and “irresponsible” in light of recent school shootings.

In a letter Sunday to the Grand Forks Herald, Heidi Czerwiec described the panic she felt when she looked up from her office computer to see “two figures in camo with guns” outside her window.

“My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911,” she wrote.

The threat, however, was two ROTC students carrying guns on their way to a routine training exercise, Campus Reform reported.

“I can barely talk — first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them,” Ms. Czerwiec wrote.

She said a university officer called her back a few minutes later to inform her that ROTC would be doing the exercises for the next couple of weeks.

“So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time,” Ms. Czerwiec wrote. “It’s not my job to decide whether people carrying guns at school are an actual threat. It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family.

“It’s already highly inappropriate to conduct unnecessary military maneuvers in the middle of the quad. But with school shootings on the increase and tensions at UND running high, it’s especially irresponsible,” she argued. “We’re already under financial and emotional attack. We don’t need to feel under physical attack, too.”

The university has now said it will send a campus-wide notification before each exercise, and will personally notify Ms. Czerwiec before each drill, Campus Reform reported.

“We did send an email notifying all students, faculty and staff that ROTC would be holding exercises throughout the spring in the Quad portion of campus. But we recognize that the notification wasn’t sufficient,” university spokesmen Peter Johnson said. “We provide a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff but in this instance we could have done a better job of helping students and employees know that this was a safe training exercise.”

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