May 15th, 2009

College Communities Are Online Communities

Last Wednesday, at Wesleyan University’s bookstore, a junior named Johanna Justin-Jinich was fatally shot by Stephen Morgan, a man she’d met at a summer program at NYU.  Morgan turned himself in to the police the next evening, but while police searched for him, Wesleyan students were told to stay in their dorms.College students online

According to Erich Lach, a Wesleyan alumnus who reported on the shooting for the New Yorker’s NewsDesk blog, the Wesleyan community relied on the Internet to keep its students safe and informed in the hours and days following the tragedy. The administration sent students updates on the status of the investigation via both email and Twitter, and students, holed up in their dorms, used their “Anonymous Confession Board” (usually reserved for gossip) to keep each other informed and safe.  Lach says that it was because of this word-of-mouth online “coverage” that he was able to feel the impact of the tragedy and the ensuing support of the alumni network.

Lach’s post for the New Yorker

The Hartford Advocate’s take

President Michael Roth’s latest message to the Wesleyan Community

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