Monday, May 20, 2024

MSU community wants campus shooting memorial to be a space of reflection, honoring

April 22, 2024
Flowers rest at the foot of the Rock on Farm Lane on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023 - two days after the mass shooting in Michigan State University’s north campus. Memorials have spread across campus in honor of Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner and Arielle Anderson, the three killed on Feb. 13.
Flowers rest at the foot of the Rock on Farm Lane on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023 - two days after the mass shooting in Michigan State University’s north campus. Memorials have spread across campus in honor of Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner and Arielle Anderson, the three killed on Feb. 13.

Michigan State University took an important step this month toward the creation of a permanent memorial for the Feb. 13, 2023, campus shooting that killed three and injured five students.

Now, community feedback on the future memorial has been collected from an online survey and recent focus groups.

A ten-person committee of students, faculty, staff and community members is now reviewing the feedback before crafting a call for proposals that will solicit designs for the memorial.

"The data really helps us get a sense of what the community feels the overall purpose should be," said Judith Stoddart, co-chair of the Feb. 13 Permanent Memorial Planning Committee and vice provost for University Arts and Collections.

Results from the survey, which gathered nearly 2,000 responses, indicated that community members want the memorial to provide a space for reflection, honoring and remembering.

Fifty-two percent of respondents wanted the memorial in a "natural, serene setting that offers a contemplative environment," while 39% want it in a "central hub, near areas of activity and gathering," according to data obtained by The State News in a public records request.

Community members want the memorial in a "private but easily accessible" location, Stoddart said.

"It's leaning towards a more natural setting, but also in a place that is both easily located and not something that you just stumble across," she said. "You can interact with it, but you're not forced to interact with it."

Of the 8% of respondents who left a written response about the memorial's location on the survey, many wanted the memorial to reside between Berkey Hall and the Union, the two sites of the shooting.

"We're still reviewing a variety of locations that meet the criteria," Stoddart said. "It depends on space … In the north part of campus, there aren't a lot of available locations."

The committee will finalize its call for proposals in May or June, at which point artists and designers can submit their proposed memorial designs to the committee.

The committee will present a final selection of proposals to the community in the fall of 2024. Using public feedback, the committee will then recommend a final design to MSU's provost and executive vice president for administration.

Construction of the memorial is expected to begin in spring 2025.

The memorial will be financed by $300,000 from the Spartan Strong Fund, which collected donations after the shooting to support those most impacted.

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