Hundreds of members of the University of Michigan community came together on the Diag on Feb. 15 to honor the victims of the deadly shooting at Michigan State University.
“Let us never forget that we are stronger together than we ever could be alone,” U-M student body president Noah Zimmerman said to the silent crowd. “We are Wolverines standing for Spartans.”
MSU students Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser, and Arielle Diamond Anderson were killed on Feb. 13 after a 43-year-old gunman opened fire at two locations on campus. Five others were critically injured. Police say the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Members of the U-M Central Student Government organized the vigil on the Diag. It began with a four-minute moment of silence to symbolize the four hours that MSU students were asked to shelter in place while the gunman remained at large. Some students brought flowers and one placed three green pieces of paper on the Block M reading simply, “Enough is enough.” Burton Tower was lit green and white for the evening and played MSU’s Alma Mater before the vigil started. After the speakers concluded, there was a large piece of paper with the words “Wolverines for Spartans” written where students could sign messages of support.
“Let’s take this time to build bridges between our two campuses,” said Karthik Pasupula, Central Student Government speaker of the assembly. “We may be rivals on the field, but we are united in our commitment to a better future.”
Jackie Hillman, U-M student body vice president, said the students must stand together and refuse to let violence tear them apart.
“We need to work to create safe and inclusive environments on our campuses where all members of our community feel welcome and respected,” she said.
Wearing an Oxford Strong shirt, U-M senior Alyssa Donovan, a graduate of Oxford High School, told the crowd they must care for one another as they mourn the “devastatingly common experiences of fear, trauma, and loss from gun violence.”
Four students were killed in a school shooting at Oxford High School in 2021.
“I call upon everyone to recognize that the need for mourning and the need for action often exist in tandem, and to hold space for each in the coming weeks,” Donovan said. “Regardless of your feelings on what comes next, I urge you to remember the victims: Alexandria, Brian, and Arielle for how they lived, how they loved, and who they were — not how they were taken from us.”
Research and Resources
According to the U-M Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, firearm fatalities are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S. The institute was launched in 2021 as part of a $10 million University commitment to generate new knowledge and advance innovative solutions to reduce firearm injuries and deaths while respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens to legally own firearms.
“It’s clear that we still have work to do to create safe learning spaces for our youth. We remain committed to finding evidence-based solutions to keep our communities free from firearm violence,” the institute says in a statement on its homepage.
Jeremy Carroll is the content strategist for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.