Some YSU students first turned away from dorm during lockdown

YOUNGSTOWN — Some Youngstown State University students who were trying to seek shelter during the campus lockdown on Monday were initially turned away from a student dormitory.

Veronica Hall, 21, a senior at YSU, said she was among a group of about 15 students who were told they couldn’t be locked into Kilcawley House because they were not campus residents.

Hall said she and some friends were at the Chick-fil-A getting lunch when they received the first university alert about the lockdown, which was issued following reports of a man with a weapon being seen on campus.

“We just see people running and we realized what was happening,” Hall said. “We hurried up and grabbed our belongings and hurried to the door. We had no idea where to go or what to do. I suggested we go to the Kilcawley dorm because it was very close by and I thought it would be a safe place to go.”

Hall said when the group arrived at Kilcawley House, they were asked by the receptionist if they were signing in with a resident of the dorm. The group told her no and asked if there was some place they could go to be safe instead and the receptionist said she would ask, Hall said.

“A few people come out and this woman asks again if we are all signing in with someone and we said no, we just came from Chick-fil-A and that we were just trying to get somewhere safe,” Hall said. “(The receptionist) said we had to stay in the lobby … where the door was still unlocked and people were able to get in and out.”

Hall said she asked if there were any offices nearby they might be able to go to and be locked in, but she said the group was told that people were working.

“Residents or not, we are still students, in fact, human, and we were treated so terribly in a very stressful and scary situation,” Hall said.

The group decided to stay in the lobby of the dorm, Hall said, huddling against each other in a way that was away from the door, while still asking people if there was anything that could be done.

“Finally, a different person came out of the office and said, ‘If anyone would like to go down to the basement just sign your name on this sheet (of paper) and I will take you down,'” Hall said.

Ron Cole, YSU public information officer, said he could not comment on this particular situation, adding the university is “in the process of having several debriefings across the campus to examine our response universitywide.”

“There are certainly things we’re going to look at quickly and make them better,” Cole said.

While some had difficulty finding shelter, other students reported receiving parking tickets during the time of the lockdown.

Chelsea Raymer posted a photo of her ticket on Facebook. “I’m not sure how they expected me to put money in my meter when we weren’t allowed to leave the building,” Raymer said in her post.

A Youngstown Municipal Court spokeswoman said Tuesday the court received several complaints from individuals who received tickets during the incident on Monday.

Parking tickets on campus are issued by a contracted company, city police said, and not by city police officers.

Officials with the company, ABM , were not aware a lockdown was taking place, according to police.

Those who received a ticket between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday may contact the YPD Traffic Division, and the citation will be voided.