Alex Davis sat in the lobby of Dehority Complex on a Thursday night. A student near him told a University Police officer that she saw a man carry a gun into Woodworth, the neighboring residence hall. When he looked out the front windows, Alex could see students coming outside as the University Police evacuated Woodworth.

Alex and other resident assistants told students to go to their rooms. By the time Alex was back in the lobby, the officer told the resident assistant on duty to press the armed assailant button, and the alarm sounded.

He watched as students from Woodworth entered Dehority one by one after University Police officers checked each individual ID. Some were calm while others seemed terrified, according to Alex.

The rest of the campus was under a “shelter in place.” This means that students and faculty were advised to go inside and stay inside.

University campuses across the nation struggle with violence. Between 2013–2015, there have been seventy-six times where a firearm was discharged on a college campus, according to Everytown Research. While these shootings may have caused fear, that doesn’t necessarily classify them as terrorism.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines the crime of terrorism as an act that is meant to influence or affect the government through coercion or intimidation, or retaliate against the government conduct. Domestic terrorism is more specifically terrorism carried out in the U.S. by an American citizen.

The difficulty lies in determining whether or not a violent act falls under this category of terrorism or simply a violent act.

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