Support amid tragedy

Last month’s mass shooting at Michigan State University struck close to home for many students at the University of Detroit Mercy who have friends and family there.

The tragedy, in which a gunman killed three students and injured five others before taking his own life, shook East Lansing and the entire state. Students on campus that evening feared for their life as police asked them to shelter in place for hours before the gunman was located.

The deadly rampage was particularly devastating for many in the state, since it occurred just over a year after a high school shooting in Oxford, Mich., claimed the lives of four students.

News of the MSU shooting sent Allison Smith, a senior on the UDM softball team, into a panic, since her boyfriend and friends stay on campus there.

“The night seemed to go on forever just sitting there and not really knowing what was going on and I can only imagine that being in the situation was 100 times worse,” Smith said.

Following the shooting, UDM showed support for the Michigan State community in a number of ways. A vigil was held on campus to honor the victims and students painted the rock near the dorm rooms Spartan green and white.

Student Government President Mark Formosa spoke at the vigil. While the events on MSU’s campus may be devastating, Formosa said he finds peace in Detroit Mercy students gathering together.

“It has been very powerful to see the UDM student body come to- gether during this tragedy,” he said. “Student organizations continue to do a lot to pay tribute to those and the families affected.”

Detroit Mercy Student Life has been providing resources to students to help grieve, heal and at- tempt to continue on while feeling safe on campus.

“The Student Life Office stands in support with our students and our peers at Michigan State Uni- versity as we mourn the tragedy of the MSU shootings,” the organization said in a statement. “We have joined with our students and other institutional departments to provide ways to express our grief, connect as a community, and move towards actions that will make our campus and community safer.”

The university is also preparing for the possibility of its own such tragedy.

Last month, an active shooter drill put on by UDM Public Safety was held in the College of Health Professions building for faculty and staff in all colleges. The exercise had been previously scheduled prior to the MSU shooting.

Detroit Mercy President Donald Taylor, who expressed condolences for the MSU community following the shooting, said he strongly encourages all students and staff to sign up for the university’s mobile safety system, which would alert subscribers via text message during any emergency situation.

The tragedy has also brought the gun-control debate back to the forefront.

Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation that would require a criminal background check for any firearm purchase. It must now pass the state senate to be signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has advocated for such laws.

Senior Aasiyah Khan claims government officials need to take a stronger stance to protect others from further gun violence.

“I believe our elected officials should acknowledge the damage that current gun legislation has on our society,” Khan said in an interview. “Prevention starts with stricter gun laws.”