Editorial — Wildcats extend a hand in wake of MSU mass shooting

North Wind Editorial Board

Just over a week ago, the students, faculty, staff and community members in and around Michigan State University fell victim to the most recent mass shooting in the United States. The act of violence claimed the lives of three students: Brian Fraser, Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner. An additional five students were injured in the act and remain in critical condition. 

The events in East Lansing came less than a month after the back-to-back mass shootings in California that resulted in the loss of 18 lives, including those who were celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park. 

At a fellow Michigan university, the tragedy that unfolded just six hours south of Northern Michigan University seemed to hit close to home. Many students at NMU have friends or family members who attend MSU, with some even hailing from East Lansing themselves. 

NMU President Brock Tessman responded quickly to the events in East Lansing, administering a campus-wide email the morning after the mass shooting had occurred. 

We stand ready to support the MSU community in any way we can,” Tessman wrote. “It is hard to imagine the fear and trauma that MSU students, faculty and staff are experiencing, especially those on campus last night. It is impossible to truly comprehend the pain of the victim’s families.”

Tessman spoke for all of us through his words, acknowledging later in his email that we are all affected by the MSU tragedy — both directly and indirectly. Shock, grief and overwhelming sadness are all appropriate responses to such an event. 

Students have received a handful of emails in the past week that included resources if they need assistance due to the events at MSU. Both the NMU Counseling Center and the Dean of Students office are equipped to help students in need. Additional resources can be found on the NMU Wellbeing website

As fellow students, we were heartbroken to hear about the loss of Brian, Arielle and Alexandria. These young students attended MSU in the hope of securing a higher education and were working hard to achieve their academic goals. The North Wind Editorial Board extends our sincerest condolences to our peers at MSU, the affected families and the community surrounding the campus. 

In the wake of this event, it is important to have open conversations with friends, co-workers and classmates regarding how you are feeling. Creating a dialogue about a subject that may seem taboo in some settings is incredibly important, especially if something is of concern to you. Additionally, be sure to have a stable support system, whether nuclear family, friends or advisors, who will provide you with the comfort and strength that may be needed during a time like this. 

It is important to grieve in a time like this, and it is normal to be uneasy in a time like this.

However, we cannot let fear and sorrow prevail over hope. We need to have hope in the power of collective action. MSU students have already demonstrated this. Instead of heading back to class the Monday following the shooting, over a thousand students sat on the steps of the state capitol to protest in support of gun reform and increased security measures. Others gathered with their friends in the comfort of a dorm or apartment, choosing not to attend vigils, protests and campus events for their own well-being. Professors too have canceled classes this week to take some time for themselves to visit family and process the past week and a half.

President Tessman was correct in stating that “it’s difficult to make sense of such a senseless act,” but we must remain vigilant — just as the students of MSU have. Their resiliency is beyond admirable.

As another institution of higher learning, we must come together in a time like this. Look after your classmates, both at NMU and other universities, whenever you can. Come together on issues like campus safety and gun violence. Have those difficult conversations with professors and administrators where you ask questions and express concerns.

We must have hope in the power of overarching good and the change that can result from it.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is an editorial, written by the North Wind Editorial Board in its entirety. It reflects the majority views of the individuals who make up the editorial staff of the North Wind. It is the policy of the Editorial Board not to endorse candidates for any political office, in order to avoid aligning this public forum with particular political organizations.