Nova Scotia

Dalhousie University returning students ponder recent events

Thousands of students are returning to Dalhousie University this week and as they come back, they have a lot to think about.

Two students are facing serious criminal charges, including murder and uttering threats

Dalhousie University students enjoying campus activities on Saturday. (CBC)

Thousands of students are returning to Dalhousie University this week and as they come back, they have a lot to think about.

Two students are facing serious criminal charges, including murder and uttering threats.

"Obviously everything that happened was tragic or horrific in one way or another but I mean we all know that we're safe for the most part," said Erin Grant, a fourth year English student from Halifax.

"Everything that happened was out of the ordinary so I think all of us as a whole feel safe in coming back and feel good about coming back."

William Sandeson was about to enter the Dalhousie medical school when he was charged last month with murdering Taylor Samson, another Dalhousie student.

Police say they believe Samson was murdered at Sandeson's home just off the Dalhousie campus, but his body has not been found.

Another student, Stephen Tynes, was arrested last month after meeting with a psychiatrist and telling the doctor he would use a gun to kill up to 20 people.

Student Hisham Ajami says recent incidents involving Dal students should be "buried as a memory." (CBC)

Among those were an assistant dean at Dalhousie's medical school. A search at his home in Halifax uncovered two high powered rifles and ammunition.

"There is nothing that a university can do to keep these kind of freak accidents from happening," said Nick Falzon, who just moved to Halifax from Victoria to start studying law at Dalhousie.

"I think the university has dealt with it in a pretty professional and safe manner."

Tomorrow, Halifax Regional Police will begin Operation Fall Back, an annual September long program where police patrols will crack down on excessive noise and public intoxication.

Another initiative that is being put in place to help students over the next two months is a sexual assault help line, an eight week pilot program being run by the Dalhousie Student Union.

"Tomorrow (Sunday) we'll be launching what the DSU is calling the sexual harassment and assault phone line," said Kathleen Reid, vice president of student life with the Dalhousie Student Union.

"It's a peer-to-peer support service for students who have experienced sexual violence or sexual assaults."

Reid says if the help line gets enough use, DSU will approach the university to seek funding to keep the program going.

While the recent events are casting a dark cloud over the university, most students simply want to turn the page.

"It happens, murders happen," said Hisham Ajami, an international student from Lebanon. "I think it's better not to speak about it and bury it as a memory."

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