Fairfield University, by nature, is a place where students, faculty and school officials are not expected to stare straight into the eyes of one of the most absurd and terrifying situations possible. Who would have ever thought a hostage situation could happen here? Who would have ever been prepared for such an ordeal?
But now, many are asking the question, “Who would have ever known that a community so removed from many of the uglier sides of life would have ever come through with flying colors?”
As numerous helicopters flew overhead and crowds of students gathered outside the Barone Campus Center, aerial shots of Canisius Hall interrupted the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in millions of homes across the country. And as Fairfield gained national publicity in one of the most horrific ways one can imagine, hope remained alive both within academic building and in the hearts of viewers on campus and around America.
And on this awe-inspiring and yet ominous stage, numerous members of the Fairfield community set a courageous example despite an unenviable situation. Various students showed a tremendous amount of bravery in a dire situation unimaginable to the rest of us.
University and Town of Fairfield officials, two groups that have had a history of sometimes not seeing eye to eye, worked impeccably well throughout the crisis and eventually navigated what could have been a tragic situation to a peaceful end.
And in what was an example of grace under pressure if there ever was one, Fr. Thomas Regan attempted to calm a volatile situation to a nonviolent end before police activity was even present.
Tuesday, as Fairfield University gained national attention for all the wrong reasons, the Fairfield community provided a model example for universities around the country.
But let us not forget that this gives us the perfect chance to look inside ourselves and ask what drove this individual to do this. How did Fairfield University fail this man? Why did the Jesuit message fail to resonate? Hopefully, by answering these questions we will be able to avoid this horrible situation in the future.