Olga Grafova, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics and Translation, Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, Perm State University, was one of many teaching fellows, who run classes on 20 September, 2021. Olga learned about the shooting from a student who showed up late – the girl heard shots, on her way. Students started getting calls from friends around the campus.
Immediately after that, Olga and her students blocked the door and started considering the situation.
“We did feel uneasy all the time, – confesses Olga. – After we got ourselves barricaded, we searched for extra means of protection. In our case, we had a heavy metal laptop, one of the students had a pepper ‘mace’ spray. We put it by the door, so it calmed us down a bit. We spread around and sat our backs to the walls, yet we felt united, talked, and shared the news. “
For two hours, before the evacuation, Olga cheered each student with a word and hugs, maintaining a comfortable positive atmosphere in the classroom.
“Due to the fact that we stayed all together and kept talking, we felt some kind of complicity, being as one, which was helpful,” recollects Olga Grafova. – The Dean’s Office was also in constant touch: we received supporting calls from them, and reliable information.”
Olga Grafova and her students still keep in touch: “In circumstances like this, you tend to appreciate good people around and their support you,” Olga admits.
“Joining our Faculty, freshmen find themselves in a ‘family-close’ atmosphere, as we share most in common and know each other well, and so ready to help. For a student, this also means responsibility, as he or she won’t be lost in a study process. For us, in turn, it is important to deal with everyone in person, not just like an ‘audience’,” – points out Natalya Khorosheva, Head of the Department of Linguistics and Translation.
“In that extraordinary case, we as teachers never felt the necessity to continue the lesson, taking into consideration the psychological stress we were all in. Everyone, who happened to be with their students at that moment, with no immediate evacuation, did behave in a decent way – initiating support and dialogue on various matters, while keeping a constant contact with the Dean’s Office and Colleagues.