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Semester Reflections from KAMP

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

The below pieces are a collection of semester reflections by the news team and general members at KAMP. When looking to the future is important to reflect and think critically about one’s experiences in a University environment and how this environment shapes the overall academic experience on an individual level. These perspectives are meant to shed light on the thoughts and feelings of everyday college students attending the University of Arizona to highlight how the actions surrounding the university have the potential to impact all that attend carrying degrees. I urge all to reflect in the coming break before next semester in hopes that come Spring and thereafter the campus experience can continue to improve. The news team sends their regards and hopes everyone has a relaxing and restful end to the semester, or at least will after finals.

By Carlos Montes

Published November 29, 2022

I remember fall semester 2021 pretty well and somewhat fondly. I had just arrived in a new place, I would be living alone in a completely different area for the first time, and I knew no one. Although this semester has not been the same for the exact same reasons, I have noticed some similarities. This semester has felt a lot more lonely than previous ones. I am no longer in a dorm, I’m instead housed in a large apartment complex. Both are filled with students, but this place doesn’t feel like a community. My friends that I met are in similar situations; stuck with more work in a location away from me. I still see them, but not as often anymore. I also found myself searching for clubs on campus again, searching for a group of people that will make me feel welcome. Thankfully, I joined KAMP radio, the student-run radio on campus. This place has felt like home every Wednesday this past semester. But, finding my group wasn’t the only goal I had. I also strived for better grades overall this semester. Because of newfound friendships, my family, and professors, I have managed to do better in terms of performance. I still have a way to go though. And the semester is not over yet. I plan to finish strong and complete a few more personal projects before it’s all over. I believe that based on what I’ve accomplished so far, that I can get it done. Oh, and I also got my bike stolen. That’s another thing that’s not changed much.

By Catherine Hill

Published November 29, 2022

I can only speak from my experience of the event that defined Fall 2022: the murder of Thomas Meixner. Although I do not grieve as acutely as Meixner’s family and close friends and loved ones; I will add my perspective of the day that the event unfolded because each account is crucial to record and collect. Moreover, the conclusion will address common misconceptions, providing true explanations with sources to dispel misinformation, regarding Thomas Meixner’s death.

I remember waking up from a nap. About to head to campus I so-happened to check the KAMP discord to see:

There’s an active shooter. He’s running around somewhere on campus.

I immediately reached for my phone and called my little sister, who lived on campus. She didn’t answer. I reached out to my friends to alert them until—my sister called me back. She was in an emergency meeting at the time, already in the dorms. My relief was immeasurable.

At this time, the shooter had left campus. For a brief moment amidst the uncertainty, there was relief.

Still at home, the thunderstorm raging outside drew my attention. I watched the rain pour with a force that shook houses and flattened the ground soil, unaware of the symbolic weather at that very moment. About an hour later the news broke.

The very next day students were instructed to return to classes. Students, staff, and faculty were expected, by the university, to return to campus a day after an active shooter fatally shot a professor.

I couldn’t fathom walking into class, taking a seat next to my friend, and listening to the lecture—the day after he lost his father. Fortunately, my class was canceled.

Here are misconceptions regarding October 5, 2022:

The incident was unprecedented. (False.)

In fact, threats to Professor Meixner and his colleagues were documented, in emails and texts as early as last January. Out of precaution, the department briefly and temporarily relocated. Email threats from Dervish continued and heightened in intensity.

Dervish had no prior relationship to Professor Meixner. (False.)

In fact, Dervish was expelled by the department on the basis of harassment and threatening behavior. Professor Meixner was the head of the Hydrology department. Additionally, Dervish had been in prison multiple times. He was convicted of a DUI and assault case in Pennsylvania, 2005, as well as maintains a restraining order against this from a woman who had Dervish as her T.A. at San Diego State University, 2020.

By Liam Larkin-Smith

Publsihed November 29, 2022

This campus is surrounded by death.

From every inscribed bench, to every tree with a little plaque in front of it, to the two hills in front of the administration dedicated to dead Frat boys, death has infiltrated and nestled into our Campus.

Death came calling this year in the form of disgruntled and disturbed graduate student Murad

Dervish, who killed Professor Thomas Meixner in his own classroom. This exceedingly public

execution rightfully shook the students and faculty deeply. Surely this couldn’t have happened

here right?

But what happened next confounded and angered the students and faculty: the university did

essentially nothing except offer hollow words and more cops. Though, to anyone who has been paying attention over the past couple of years, this response tracks with an established pattern.

A young man was killed in a parking garage my freshman year at the university. Another young man died in a drive-by shooting my sophomore year at university. And two weeks before Meixner was gunned down, there was a shooting at the Jack in the Box on Park. This list is not exhaustive, these are just the cases I myself know about, I am positive that there are more than what is on this list. Regardless, the university did the same thing in these tragedies that they did when Meixner was killed: express their condolences, say that they are committed to campus safety, and then if they do anything, they jack up the amount of cops on campus. But it is obvious that more cops are not the answer. Cops did not save Meixner from Dervish’s bullets, they saved none of the dead whose names adorn the plaques under the trees, and the legions of other students who are not memorialized on any plaque or artificial hill, the dead and the murdered are remembered only by family and friends. The cops knew about Dervish’s threat months before he drove from San Diego to kill the professor he felt was mean towards him, but the cops did not pursue anything as a result of their knowledge.

And what happened when the students and some faculty got fed up with the university’s

response to both Meixner’s murder and Maria Alvarez calling the cops on a disabled black

student? A relatively large protest at the administration building, whose leadership was

centralized but never fully on the same page with each other, demanding the resignation of

Alvarez and a genuine response to the violence on campus that did not involve more cops.

During the moment of silence for the victims of violence, two F18 tomcats screamed overhead. Did anything come as a result? Technically yes, but nothing good. The university has brought in a private security company to analyze the campus’s security and make recommendations, most of which will probably boil down to more authoritarian measures. And in regards to Alvarez, the university stated that the incident was Not Real and that we all need to Stop Lying, essentially. We all went back to school, back to our routines, back to our studies. I can’t say I’m surprised by that, and I almost appreciate their honesty in admitting that nothing will change.


By Anonymous

Published November 29, 2022

Reflecting on one’s personal character is extremely hard to do. To think critically about the choices you have made and to justify your actions in the name of what is right is infinitely subjective and will often yield countless different results given the person, circumstance, context, and implied or assumed meanings. To me, this semester has been a semester of realizing what is right in front of me and accepting truths even when it is ugly. Nobody is perfect yet many strive to be or at least to be as close to it as possible. I understand now that it is far more sanity-inducing to accept the former. I am happy to close many chapters this past semester on a good note such as applying for jobs and getting through to finals. However, I grow weary of the future and wonder if true change is possible that can come to amicable and conclusive ends.

It is not cool to be mean. In today’s culture of self-depreciation, justifying ill-intended actions on victim-based identification, refusing to seek help, and being mean to others is not a healthy coping mechanism, and when in an echo chamber it is oftentimes hard to understand that what you are saying has consequences that extend beyond your self affirming walls. I was a prisoner of the echo chamber and in all honesty a bitch. It took me being the subject of the chamber to realize that you can leave at any time, no one is standing in front of the door but yourself. I encourage everyone to reflect on who they have become and the narratives they choose to perpetuate out of fear of exclusion. Harassment, intimidation, and bullying are real and until you make the choice to be an advocate rather than a bystander, the echo chamber of hate, meanness, and anger will only grow. I am trying to do better and I hope everyone else can try as well. Perfection realistically is an unattainable first-prize goal, but compassion although sometimes equally as difficult to achieve is a close second.

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