The shooting death on the campus of Tennessee State University Thursday night is a tragedy in so many different ways. First and foremost, it is a tragedy for the deceased _ Cameron Selmon, 19, of Memphis, Tenn. _ and his family and friends. No less tragic are the injuries sustained by three young ladies, who were just passing by. Fortunately, they will all be OK.
Whatever Selmon was doing on the TSU campus that night, whether he belonged there or not, should not have led to his death. It is also a tragedy that the assailants’ mindsets were so warped, they felt the only answer to settle a conflict over an apparent dice game, was through the barrel a gun.
It is tragic the shooters had such lack of respect for life, and education. When the shooters are found I have a feeling their education will be limited, and their guns illegally obtained, no doubt.
This is a tragedy for Tennessee State University, a great school that has meant so much to Nashville’s African-American community.
TSU has played an instrumental role in educating African-Americans, and sending them out into communities around the world to share their gifts and talents. That is why so many alumni and friends of the university have rallied to her cause.
The violent acts of last Thursday is not what TSU is about, nor are the other acts of violence that have occurred near the campus in recent months. TSU is, and always will be, about educating young men and women, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliations.
But the love and affection so many have for TSU is not going to be enough.
We are dealing with a generation of people who don’t even love themselves, much less a precious entity such as Tennessee State University.
So, there has to be a plan of action to make the campus safer. This has already started with a joint effort between TSU and Nashville’s Metro Police department, to increase the police presence on, and around the campus.
It is also time to make TSU an enclosed campus. Every entrance and exit should be manned at all times. This is the case at campuses like Hampton University (Hampton, Va.), and Virginia Union University (Richmond, Va.).
I understand that fencing off TSU is a huge task. However, doing so sends a message to students, and more importantly the parents of students, that the university is serious about providing a safe, academic environment for its students.
Let’s be clear, fencing and check points won’t necessarily eliminate the chance of violence. Let’s face it, in today’s world it is impossible to eliminate violence. We have seen acts of violence break out in church, movie theaters and schools. It can happen any place, at any time.
There is not a more pressing issue that TSU faces today. Its very future is at stake. Incidents like the shooting, and the reputation of violence at, and around the school, could be devastating. It could have a significant impact on enrollment, recruiting top students, recruiting top student-athletes and even bringing in future corporate sponsors, and donors.
Again, there is no way TSU, or any college or university, can guarantee their campus will be free of violence.
However, TSU must commit every possible resource to protecting its most valuable asset_ the sons and daughters who are the pride, joy of thousands of families across the country.