The heads of the two main Jewish organizations at Ohio State University (OSU) told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that they were well prepared for Monday’s car-ramming and mass stabbing attack on campus.
Because they had believed it was only a matter of time before terror would strike their school, the pair said, they had procedures in place to handle such an event.
Following the assault, committed by a Somali refugee, Susannah Sagan, associate executive director of OSU Hillel, and Rabbi Zalman Deitsch, co-director of the OSU Schottenstein Chabad House, said, “No one lives in a bubble anymore. We know what’s out there, and we are prepared.”
“We always had plans in case such a thing happened. It would be naive not to. Everyone knows that this is the reality today,” Sagan said.
Deitsch said that after the police lockdown that followed the attack was lifted, he immediately headed to the hospital, to offer counseling and services to the victims, while his wife and co-director, Sarah, opened the doors of the Chabad House to students looking for guidance or other assistance.
“Our response is to focus on bringing more positivity into the world, and we were on campus advising traumatized students on what they can do to move forward. We’ll survive this and continue our goal to change the world for the better,” Deistch said.
Sagan told The Algemeiner that Hillel’s resident rabbi participated in an interfaith vigil held Monday night, while the organization went ahead with a pre-scheduled early Hanukkah celebration, at which students were given the opportunity to speak about their experiences during and after the attack.
“We tried to bring some light into the darkness,” Sagan said.
Deitsch said that his institution will be “looking into upgrading our security,” and Sagan said that Hillel is prepared to deal with any continued emotional trauma students may experience.
On Monday morning, a Muslim student at OSU wounded 11 people, one critically, before being shot dead by a police officer. As The Algemeiner reported, an international security consultant said the incident was further evidence that Islamist jihadis around the world mimic tactics used by Palestinian terrorists against Israelis.
Police have yet to determine whether the attack constituted an act of terrorism.