This was our home.
We’d attend classes in Berkey Hall and the MSU Union with bags under our eyes and Starbucks in hand, zoning out during a lecture. We’d pop in our headphones and stroll through the buildings, focused on our upcoming exam or when we could go back to bed.
We gathered in the Union to study for the upcoming exams ahead. We’ve spent precious time in the dining halls with some of our closest friends. Memories of a lifetime were made in a place we learned to call home.
Many of us will never do these things again without fear.
Our home will never be the same.
We can’t physically sit in a classroom on Monday. It’s been less than a week since we lost three fellow Spartans in those classrooms. We aren’t ready.
But we also can’t log onto Zoom on Monday and meaningfully engage in our classwork. We’re processing trauma. We’re coming to terms with grief. We can’t be worried about a deadline or an exam.
We need more time to process without a class to worry about. MSU must extend the pause they’ve given us so we can decide how we need to proceed to feel safe and secure.
Some of us feel like we can never step foot on our campus again. Some of us don’t know if we have the strength to graduate. Some of us are looking at the next 1-3 years left at MSU and wondering, “How am I going to do this?”
Monday’s mass shooting took away our safety, our comfort and our security; and for the three victims, Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner and Arielle Anderson, it took their lives.
As the barricades went up and the situation unraveled, we lost our home. We lost our school. Instead, in its place, are two hollow buildings that are a shell of what they once represented, surrounded by Spartans that are trying to figure out what to do next.
Michigan State University, to no fault of its own, can’t give its students, faculty, staff and community these things back. We’ll never get back to the school we had before Monday at 8:18 p.m.
Michigan State can’t help us forget. We’ll still feel the presence of our Spartans lost, those injured at hospitals and those who have decided they can no longer be Spartans.
We locked ourselves in closets. We pushed furniture against our doors. We turned off the lights, laid down on the floor and hoped, with every fiber of our being, that it would all be over soon.
Four hours of fear.
We shouldn’t have to feel this way. Our school is broken. Our home is destroyed. We don’t know if we can ever call it that again.
As we struggle to figure out how to heal, we simply can’t fathom showing up to class; a place that, less than a week ago, was life-threatening, and for some, deadly.
Some of us grew up here. Others learned to call this place home over time, but everything that made MSU feel like that — our daily rituals, our favorite walks, the dorms we adjusted to college life in — are all tainted. And that can’t be fixed.
The lawns where we’d see each other hosting picnics and playing frisbee are now where we pass one another with hollowed eyes, still reeling from this tragedy. True healing hasn’t even begun.
Monday is just way too soon. Tuesday is too soon. We need at least another week of healing.
Michigan Police and Public Safety and the university have displayed transparency and accountability during and following this tragedy. We are grateful for the first responders.
What MSU needs to give us is the space to heal without thinking about an upcoming assignment deadline. And the power to decide if we can step foot in a classroom again this semester.
We need accommodations for classes. Many students, faculty and staff will never feel safe in these academic buildings again. Give them the space they need, to choose whether to return to campus or continue online.
We flinch at every loud noise, every sudden movement. Someone trips, a phone rings out loud, a door slams and we all hold our breath.
How can we sit in a 300+ person lecture hall or take our exams without watching the doors, windows and each other?
We know everyone’s grieving is different. Some people need to go to classes to feel normal, while others need to stay as far from campus as possible. In short, we need flexibility.
And we need longer than until Monday to figure out what grieving looks like for us.
We need support for workers, especially those who have lost their jobs within the Union and Berkey Hall. These students often cannot take days to cope and process; there’s a dining hall that needs food and buildings that need cleaning.
We all need time to process.
Every possible accommodation must be made so students can move forward after this senseless tragedy. This isn’t just moving classes to Zoom.
It’s satisfactory/non-satisfactory grading options.
It’s flexible deadlines within classes.
It’s heightened security on campus.
It’s locking academic buildings, requiring MSU IDs to access at all times.
It’s supporting essential staff who can’t just leave their jobs to process their trauma.
It’s counseling and therapy.
It’s allowing for good days and bad days and everything in between.
What we need continued transparency. Continue to answer our questions. Continue to investigate what happened. Continue what you’ve started since Monday because we need the closure.
Listen to us. Listen to the students who were locked in those rooms and the community that watched and grieved as our school became a shell of its former self.
We were all there: the State News staff, the 50,000 students, the faculty and staff, the essential workers, the five injured students, Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner, Arielle Anderson.
We grieve with you, Michigan State University. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
If you need mental health resources, please visit the Michigan State Counseling and Psychiatric Services website. More resources can be found here.
The State News Editorial Board is made up of Editor-in-Chief SaMya Overall, Managing Editor Drew Goretzka, Campus Editor Morgan Womack, City Editor Dan Netter, Culture Editor Miranda Dunlap, Sports Editor Jenna Malinowski, Copy Chief Claire Grant, Visual Director Chloe Trofatter, Multimedia Editor Audrey Richardson, Social Media Manager Lauren Snyder, Staff Rep. Dina Kaur and Diversity Rep. Jada Vasser. On-site reporters Devin Anderson-Torrez, Alex Walters, Lily Guiney and Bella Johnson also sat in for this editorial.