Pacific University joined over 3,000 other schools in America on March 14, as students, faculty and staff, participated in the national March for Our Lives Walkout.
The sun was out as students and faculty joined together on the University Center (UC) patio at 10:00 a.m. to stand in solidarity against gun violence in schools.
Students held signs which read “Stop the violence,” “Listen to the Survivors,” and “#Never Again.” Those who attended the event shared in a moment of silence for the 17 lives lost at the Parkland, Florida school shooting, which happened on Feb. 14.
At the event, University Chaplain Chuck Currie, the director for the Center for Peace and Spirituality, spoke adamantly against gun violence.
“This is not rocket science, this debate that we’re having today,” Currie said. “This is a political issue, it is a moral issue, but you can make a difference.”
The crowd responded with a resounding applause after Currie said, “We need to ban assault weapons in this country.”
Professor of Sociology Jaye Cee Whitehead also spoke at the event.
“Your younger cohorts are saying enough is enough,” Whitehead said.
Heather Gardner, a student who attended the walkout, recalled growing up in a neighborhood where gun violence was a common issue.
“Gun violence has been a problem my whole life,” Gardner said.
Gardner, who did not attend her local high school because of its high rate of gun threats, said she had hoped the walkout would have been more insistent on change. And said she was happy when Currie spoke out for gun control.
An article published in the Oregonian featured Pacific student Sophia O’Neal talking about the March for Our Lives walkout.
“I am sick and tired of seeing my generation be killed by senseless and preventable gun violence,” O’Neal said. “I want my generation to survive and today I am demanding action be taken to let us live.”
At the walkout, the College Democrats club ran a table which helped students and faculty signup and register to vote.
Those who attended the walkout also signed their names on a banner with the hashtag “#Enough” printed on it. The Undergraduate Student Senate (USS) will send the banner to the Oregon State Capitol to convey concerns of gun violence to state representatives.
The USS hopes to continue discussions on gun violence with a forum on April 10 in the UC. It will be an open forum with a panel of University personnel to discuss the different sides of the gun debate.
Campus Public Safety will be at the April 10 forum for anyone who has questions regarding active event response scenarios. Members of the Counseling Center will also be present at the forum to answer questions and assist in the conversation.
“All across the country there are students just like you,” Currie said, at the event. “Our members of congress are all paying attention to you today.”