Clown phenomenon reaches Marywood


Rachel Looker, Editor-in-Chief

Strange clown sightings have been occurring throughout multiple states across the country, but on Monday night, some Marywood students thought the clowns were a little too close to home.

There have been multiple stories about clowns emerging from the woods in South Carolina, clowns found in Iowa and possible sightings of clowns on college campuses throughout the country including, Penn State University, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut.

On Monday night, Marywood students reported possible clown sightings on campus, and became anxious when rumors spread that certain buildings were on lock-down because of this potential threat.

Chief of Campus Safety Mike Finegan said the incident “turned out to be unsubstantiated reports.”

Finegan said he received a call last night and ordered additional patrols on campus. He called the Dunmore Police to assist Campus Safety officers because they were short-staffed that evening.

“We found no evidence of any clown activity,” said Finegan. “That’s good. Campus was safe. Everything was fine.”

Finegan added that he thinks Marywood’s Campus Security officers did a “good job” handling students’ anxieties and explaining that there was no threat to campus.

Finegan said a lock-down situation was never discussed among the Campus Safety Department and “was never on the table because there was never even a threat.”

He added he has no reason to disbelieve students’ reports that there were people running around campus, but Campus Safety found no evidence of clowns.

Finegan advised against students immediately posting on social media if they see something unusual on campus. He added that social media is good, but sometimes it is a cause of “undue concern.”

“Let’s do our job and let us decide if there’s a viable threat or an actual event,” said Finegan. “It’s not to say we disbelieve any reports from students, but everything needs to be investigated.”

Finegan suggested that students who see anything unusual on campus should call Campus Safety. He recommends always walking with company on campus.

Finegan was not the only one to advise students about safety tips when on campus.

Assistant Vice President for Student Life Amy Paciej-Woodruff emailed students on Oct. 4 about the incident from Monday night.

According to the email, the University of Scranton had multiple reports of clown sightings, which may have caused rumors to spread to Marywood.

After contacting Student Life staff members at the University of Scranton, Woodruff said in the email there was no evidence that there were clowns on the University of Scranton’s campus.

“The phenomena of clown sightings at colleges throughout the northeast is now reaching heightened levels,” said Paciej-Woodruff. “Social media brings with it message distortion that naturally arises from a story being passed along from person to person and campus to campus and can cause panic, which in itself can pose a danger.”

Paciej-Woodruff said students’ safety remains the top priority.

The email contained safety measures that students can take if they feel their safety is in question, including calling the Campus Safety Department or calling 9-1-1 if a student feels he or she is in immediate danger.

“If when an emergency arises, our University staff is trained to respond in a timely and appropriate manner,” said Paciej-Woodruff.

Campus safety is everyone’s responsibility, according to Paciej-Woodruff.

“We ask you to continue to be aware of your surroundings and to report any unsafe condition or matter to Campus Safety…,” said Paciej-Woodruff. “Together we can continue to create a safe environment for the campus community.”

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