Gunfire at Grambling causes disturbance

April 30, 2008

by Mary Nash

Many questions remained unanswered following an incident that took place Friday at Grambling State University which caused the campus to close.

While no one was injured in what police reports are describing as a riot, seven people have been arrested for disorderly conduct.

Published reports state gunshots were fired on GSU’s campus as well as several fights beginning at 12:45 p.m. with law enforcement being called in around 2 p.m.

Stephen Williams, administrative captain at Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, said his office was called to assist the GSU and Grambling police Friday afternoon.

“More than a dozen LPSO deputies were sent to the campus to assist GSU and Grambling police,” Williams said.

Ralph Wilson, director of media relations at GSU, said the incident is still under investigation.

“We have not been able to identify if gunshots were released,” Wilson said in a press conference.
“We believe fireworks were a key part of that. That could have been the sound that many have heard.”

Another rumor still under investigation is that the incident initially began Thursday night at The End Zone, a local nightclub.

“To my knowledge, this seems to be a carryover disturbance from an incident stemming from earlier in the week,” Williams said.

Marissa Handley, a freshman business management major at GSU, said a key issue she feels the uproar sparked was the way in which many had to discover something such as this occurring on their campus.

Handley said she feels the FirstCall Interactive Network system, which was implemented by the University of Louisiana System in recent months, was ineffective in this instance.

“I received the message at 5:45 p.m. which didn’t even tell me what happened,” Handley said. “I believe they should have sent the message as soon as it happened.”

In fact, the mass message sent to subscribers to the network did not mention what had occurred on campus but rather said, “Campus at Grambling State University is closed. Classes resume on Monday.”

Wilson said GSU has been in contact with FirstCall to determine the cause of the delay.

“I understand that some students didn’t receive the text until later that afternoon,” Wilson said. “We have been in touch with FirstCall and we are working to find out what happened.”

Handley said the she no longer feels safe walking onto the GSU campus.

“I cannot feel safe. Not anymore,” Handley said. “There are too many incidents happening on campus.”

GSU President Horace A. Judson said GSU will not stand for such events to occur on the GSU campus.

“We will not tolerate this kind of behavior on our campus at all,” Judson said.
“We will continue to make this campus safe for all students, employees and visitors.”