The past week has seen the story of Ahmed Mohamed dominate social media and national news.
When the 14-year-old MacArthur High School student was arrested for building a clock that was mistaken for a bomb, a nation-wide floor for further discussion on race and religion opened up, even prompting President Obama to invite Mohamed to the White House in a tweet.
Social media played a large role in perpetuating the story, with the tag “#IStandWithAhmed” trending on both Twitter and Facebook last week.
Yet here on the University of Dallas campus, conversation on the subject has been muted, despite the fact that the events took place only seven minutes away.
One possible reason for this could be that the majority of students simply do not know the proximity of the events.
In a poll of 42 students, at various location on campus, only 18 knew where MacArthur High School was, and only 17 knew of Mohamed’s arrest at the school.
Many of the polled students had heard of Mohamed, but had no idea that the arrest took place at MacArthur High School — they garnered their understanding of events through skimming tags on social media sites, but were unaware of the actual location of the story.
Others knew the name of MacArthur High School to be associated with the story, but did not realize that it was here in Irving.
A third group had heard of MacArthur High School, but nothing at all of Mohamed and his clock. The majority of these students were local to the Dallas area or upperclassman who knew the area.
Of the 15 upperclassmen that were polled, seven of them answered no to both questions. A total of 17 students knew neither where MacArthur High School was nor of the events that had taken place there the past week.
Freshman Mika Stevens did not know anything about Mohamed.
“I haven’t been on social media lately,” Stevens said in explanation; but after a friend explained the events to her she was moved.
“That’s so sad,” said Stevens to her friend.
Stevens may be representative of much of the UD population, in that she cared about the subject once she had knowledge of it. However the fact remains that a large portion of the UD student body is ignorant to the events of the outside world even when the outside world is only minutes away.
Ten students of the 42 answered that they knew both where MacArthur High School was and what had happened there.
It seems that a combination of factors contributed to this knowledge.
The students all had a source for news, like social media or other websites such as Yahoo and MSN. They had also needed to read the articles through to notice details of the story like where it took place. Additionally, they needed a knowledge of the surrounding area if they were to make the connection between the University of Dallas and MacArthur High School.
Unfortunately, judging by the numbers, it seems that most students at the University of Dallas lack one or all of these tools to become more aware of the world surrounding them.