Progressive student organization NextGen encourages students to take action against gun violence

Jessica Leydet , Social Media Editor

NextGen, a politically progressive student organization on campus and one of many nationwide, will be holding a student walkout on Wednesday, March 14 in response to the many school shootings that have taken place in the United States. The group is also working on making active shooter training available for students.

The organization formed based on goals like engaging young voters, increasing the number of young voters and bringing more attention to social justice issues in politics. It tries to accomplish those goals by planning political events, such as a panel held on March 8 in celebration of International Women’s Day, or the various tabling the group does on campus where student can always receive free stuff and ways to contact politicians.

The significance of the walkout event is having student safety be a main priority. Destinee Rule, a member of NextGen, played a major part in the organization of the walkout and in contacting the Board of Trustees and the Oakland University Police Department to get active shooter training for students.

“School shootings have become a norm in our country and are almost seen as inevitable,” she said. “I have had the privilege for working for an office that mandated active shooter training, and many other people in NextGen OU have also had the ability to participate in active shooter training, but that is 10 people out of many.”  

Rule believes students should not be considered “lucky” if they get to attend active shooter training, because she thinks it should be an option for all students to partake in, without a hassle.

“We, along with other student organizations, hope to implement a system that will give active shooter training videos and awareness at new student orientations, similar to the way they present Title 9,” she said. “This way every incoming freshman has been exposed to the procedures and ways to handle a campus shooting.”

For those who are not freshmen, NextGen would like active shooter training in residence halls and offered throughout campus, in series. After the shooting in Florida, students nationwide have been asking for gun reform. Currently, NextGen just wants Oakland to be proactive.

“Students want to see this change because no one wants to be in a predicament where there is a shooting on campus, but also, it would be beneficial for us to know how to handle said situation,” Rule said.

Rule said that she personally feels as though she has been given the “run around”  when she spoke to the Board of Trustees about the active shooter training.

“I felt as if there was no urgency to address this situation, especially with their response that I would have to wait until April and I would only be allotted 2 minutes to speak about this with the Board,” she said.

She said OUPD understood the importance of active shooter training, but she believes the biggest barrier is the number of students that would need to receive training, which is incomparable to the amount of students that could be emotionally and physically hurt by a shooting on campus.