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Students' decisions to attend Baylor not affected by Mount Carmel incident

April 21, 1997

By Chad Jackson

Lariat Reporter

Four years ago, today's seniors were deciding whether or not to come to Baylor, and then smoke began to rise.

Saturday marked four years since the fire broke out at Mount Carmel. How did this incident affect students and their school making decisions?

The incident did not concern Amy James, a Little Rock, Ark., senior. James' decision about coming to the University was made before the incident at Mount Carmel happened.

James said that the media focused on the city of Waco because it is a small city, and there were no previous big events in Waco. She said the incident was big news, but Waco was not.

James said the situation was a large story in the news for at least a month every morning, and the media coverage was longer than required for the situation.

'[The Mount Carmel incident] made me think there was more to this town,' James said, speaking of her thoughts about Waco. However, she said that her feelings about the University were not altered.

James said she did not realize that an event this big would happen in a small town, and the incident took her by surprise.

Michael Ford, a Rochester, N.Y., senior, who was on campus at the time of the incident, said the media dramatized the situation too much.

Ford said students on campus were not any more concerned about the situation than people in other states or cities.

Ford said that he and his friends saw the incident as another current event. They were anxious to see the outcome, but they did not feel personally affected by the situation.

'I guess it put Waco on the map,' Ford said, speaking of the media's treatment of the situation.

He said that the situation could have happened anywhere, and the media reaction would have been the same.

Lindsay Grady, a Loveland, Colo., senior, said the incident showed her that atypical groups of people were in an area that she did not know about and still may not hear about.

The media focused too much on the situation, Grady said, and the incident did not change Grady's perspective of the University.

Jennifer Gornto, an Alvin senior, did not have an interest in the situation when she was preparing to come to the University.

Gornto knew the incident at Mount Carmel was separate from the University, and the situation did not effect her opinion of the University.

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