Skip to content Skip to footer

They say silence is golden. There are also times that silence can be toxic.

On Nov. 15, the quiet of just-another-day at Las Positas was pierced by sirens in the 9 a.m. hour. Livermore Police and campus security cordoned off areas around Building 1800, with Livermore-Pleasanton Fire also responding to the campus. Before noon, an anonymous white van from the Alameda County Coroner’s Office was on campus.

Just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, LPC President Dyrell Foster emailed students and staff addressing the incident in general terms. The vague email was understandable, given events were still unfolding and there were numerous details that remain unknown. Foster confirmed an incident did occur, indicating that there was no threat to campus or its students and that classes were ongoing and not affected. The email concluded with counseling resources available to students.

The Express reached out to Livermore Police yesterday morning for a statement, a press release or for other details. While the Livermore Police Department did not respond, they did forward the inquiry to an administrator at LPC, who reiterated Foster’s statement. Wednesday’s statement and the response from Nov. 16 both indicated “more details will be provided as they become publicly available.”

There is a delicate balance to be struck between the privacy afforded to the family of the person who died on Wednesday and the campus community’s interest in the details. The family interest is obvious. The campus community ranges from returning veterans right down to first-time college students.  The former have seen a thing or two and have a more resilient coping mechanism, while the latter have parents who are concerned and concern themselves with reading rumors and speculation on Facebook.

Striking that balance is a topic a class spent hours discussing during a public information officer training course one member of The Express editorial board attended a few years ago. Focusing on events this week, it feels timely that the LPC administration consider a follow-up statement.

As a college community, The Express recognizes LPC has been in the press lately with the recent strife following the conflicts in Gaza. Keeping a low profile in the press following those events may be reasonable in the playbook of media relations.

Wednesday was different. Someone in our community is no longer in our community. We don’t know if that may be faculty, staff, student or visitor. The atmosphere on campus has felt melancholy and the parking lots emptier than the same time last week. But we can glean that the relationship is known to the administration in their reiteration of counseling services.

In the silence of these events, the rumors and concerns fill the void. Parents want to know that their child is safe from the unspoken cause of this week’s tragedy. As a community, we want to understand, to empathize and to grieve the loss – regardless of whose life was lost on Wednesday.

For that, we need to better understand what facts can respectfully fill the silence.

Paul George is the copy editor at the Express. Follow him on X @paulGeorgePIO

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.