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  • Ella Gaffke

Shooting at MSU: Olivet's Response

The very tragic event that occurred at Michigan State University on the night of Feb. 13, 2023, shook many. According to the Michigan State University Police, there was an active shooter on the MSU campus on the night of Feb. 13, leaving three victims dead and five victims in critical condition.

This heartbreaking and emotional event impacted a multitude of people. Including the community of students at Olivet College.

Senior, Bray Wright’s Story: Bray Wright knew and attended high school with Alexandria Verner who tragically lost her life in the MSU shooting. Here is Bray’s experience and feelings about this incident. Wright heard about the shooting through friends, I was on a group chat with some friends of mine and one of them said her friend heard something about it (the shooting), so I immediately started looking up web pages. My family tends to keep each other updated about these things because my brother works in a school and I’m at college, so I shot them a message. And for the most part that was the rest of my night during the shooting. “Tuesday when I actually got the news about Alex I ate lunch, went back to my apartment, cried, screamed, called my mom, cried more on the phone with my mom and then basically spent the rest of the day just being sad and upset.” “At first, I didn’t have a huge reaction because I tend to have delayed reactions. And then afterwards I got really upset because it’s just a very unfair situation and she was very young and nice and smart, and she really didn’t deserve any of this.” “Unfortunately, this is a thing that we keep experiencing, to the point where we kind of like just say, ‘ugh another college shooting, that sucks’ and I didn’t have much reaction until I directly knew someone who died in it.” “Unfortunately, this is very normalized for us, we have been dealing with this since we were kids.” “Alex did not deserve this, none of the kids at MSU deserved to deal with this, the Verner family did not deserve to deal with this. This is just awful, and I hate that people are going through it and I hate that people I know are going through it and I just want it to stop happening” “She was just really nice and really smart and really young and I’m just so angry.” Junior, Madison Bailey’s Story: “I got a call from my mom to make sure that we were still in Olivet, because we didn’t have practice and she wanted to make sure we didn’t go to Lansing for dinner or anything.” Bailey’s initial response was, “It’s like, you get instantly sick to your stomach, you know when you hear about those things.” “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, to have to go through a situation like that, to know that people that I care about or families that I know about are having to worry about their kids, that’s not a really good feeling.” Bailey and her friends kept up in the information as the event unfolded, “We watched the live recordings that they were playing on the local news, we listened to it on a police scanner and a lot of twitter feeds as those updated.” Bailey commented on the effects of this tragic incident, “When you are surrounded by thousands of people that you are really unsure of, it can make you a little hesitant or worried on going back to class, or going out in public, feeling safe in those kinds of places. I think that worry and being scared is the biggest thing, I think that’s how kids will be affected by it.” “You always think that those things don’t happen around you and then they do. You wouldn’t really think that anything bad is going to happen at Olivet, but it could, and I think that bring us to those sorts of situations, they bring it to life.” Bailey also described the feelings on campus the day after the shooting, “I think that you could kind of get the sense that some people were involved. Whether that was having siblings there or friends was like a dark cloud over the room, the energy was low and weird today.”

Senior, Laura Fox’s Story: “So, I grew up in Dewitt which is about 10-15 minutes away from MSU campus, so I’ve been going there since I was really little. I have a lot of friends who go to MSU, my boyfriend goes to MSU, and I spend a lot of time on campus. I eat at Brody Hall all the time; I go visit people in the dorms, it’s just kind of like a home away from home from Olivet. It’s going to be where I go to school next’s been difficult to refrain how I feel about going there (next year).” Fox first heard about the event from her boyfriend, “I got a text from my boyfriend that was like, ‘I’m fine, but there’s a shooting going on and I’m not sure what’s going on.’” “So, I started listening to the police scanner and started hearing what was going on with that and I think I listened to that for a few hours, until everything ended.” “I knew some people who were in class in Berkley at the time and people who live at Snyder-Philips and people who were in the MSU Union, so I was texting people to make sure they were okay and hearing back from them and kind of offering support.” In response to being asked if she wanted to still attend MSU for law school Fox stated, “I think it’s important to not let these things scare us and deter us from what we want to do. I’m trying to go to some protest over at MSU this week in response and I don’t think that we should be scared to be on campus because I feel like that gives it more power than it should have. So, I still totally intend on going to MSU, probably even a little bit more, kind of to show that I’m not intimidated by that kind of thing, just to continue to do what I want to do.” “I think it generates fear to be in class and out and about, like I’m a big runner and I run at MSU all the time and I’m thinking maybe I don’t want to do that for a few weeks' kind of thing. I think it impacts us and how we go about our daily lives and how we think about our surroundings, which I don’t think is right.” Fox’s last comments about the event were, “I just hope that everyone who was involved and who was a victim of the shooting is doing well and is seeking the support that they need from others and the community.”

There was statement released by Olivet College on Feb. 14 at 12:14 p.m. that stated: “The horrific events that took place at Michigan State University last night are tragic. We express our sincerest sympathies to the families of the three victims who lost their lives and prayers and support to the five individuals who were gravely injured, and to all of the students, faculty and staff who proudly call Michigan State University their home. Even though we are Olivetians, many of us have close ties to MSU through friends and family. This is a difficult time for all of us; we will need time to heal.” There are resources available at Olivet College for anyone in need. These resources can be found in the Health and Wellness Center in Mott 212 or can be reached at 269-749-7745. Olivet College will also be having a vigil in remembrance and support of the MSU shooting. It will be held at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20 at the Congregational church and is open to students, staff, faculty, family and friends.

Edit 2/22: For photos of the vigil, click here.

Courtesy Image


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