News Briefs 3/18

Nick Moran

University of Michigan police respond to active shooter scare

University of Michigan police responded to reports of gunfire in Mason Hall around 4:30 p.m. on March 16. After clearing out rooms and confirming that there was no active threat on campus, police said that the initial reports stemmed from students thinking the sound of popping balloons and screaming were gunshots. 

Police also responded to reports of the potential shooter moving to the undergraduate library. After investigating and clearing out both the library and Mason Hall, the university announced that there was no ongoing threat to the community.

The calls stemmed from a vigil for the victims of the recent Christchurch, New Zealand shootings, where attendees included students, faculty and a handful of state politicians. 

Images of students barricading themselves in rooms and videos of vigil attendees were circulated online amid the police response. 

Viant Medical stops production on pollution-related processes

Viant Medical, the medical company revealed to be releasing unsafe levels of ethylene oxide, announced in a letter to nearby residents that it will be stopping the sanitation processes that are associated with the air pollution. The plant’s proximity to Grand Valley State University’s Grand Rapids campus led to independent air quality checks from the university to analyze the potential for future harm to students. 

The company’s letter also read that they will be providing GVSU with updated information as it works with the Michigan Department of Air Quality (MDEQ) on the matter. The letter noted the university as one of its key stakeholders alongside the City of Grand Rapids and the Kent County Health Department.

While the state associated the pollution with increased risk of cancer in the area, the MDEQ said that there are no short-term health risks associated with ethylene oxide emissions.

Student senate allocated reserve funds to pay for President’s Ball

During their March 14 general assembly, Grand Valley State University’s student senate voted in favor of spending $20,000 of their reserve funds to help pay for this year’s canceled President’s Ball. 

Due to the cancellation of the celebration, the university had outstanding, non-refundable balances that needed to be paid. 

The bill will also be paid in part by the Office of Student Life and the offices within it, such as Spotlight and Laker Traditions. The Office of Student Life’s portion will be approximately $28,000.

Vice President of Finance Amanda Crawford said that the reserve fund is filled with portions of the budget left over from previous years, saved for occasions like this. Prior to the approval of the allocation, the fund had approximately $60,000 in it.