GV students express sorrow, solidarity following nationwide college campus violence


GVL / Meghan Tripp

Emma Armijo, Staff Writer

Recent violence occurring at universities across the U.S. has Grand Valley State University students feeling empathy and concern.

The tragic loss of life at the University of Virginia (UVA) pinches a nerve for GVSU students, as the story brings to mind a consistent string of violent, life-threatening crimes occurring off campus throughout the semester.

On the morning of Nov. 14, news broke that three football players for the University of Virginia had died in a mass shooting event.

The students, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, were scheduled to play with the team in a game against Coastal Carolina University the next day. The game was called off following the tragedy, and the campus closed the following Monday.

The shooting took place onboard a bus returning from a field trip to Washington, D.C. the evening of Nov. 13. Two other students suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds.

Area police responded to the shooting in what became a 12-hour manhunt, at which time the entire campus was on lockdown and students were trapped in place.

The lockdown conditions, for the safety of the student body, did not permit any person to exit their area of shelter for any reason until authorities deemed it safe. For some students and community members, that meant they were trapped overnight without access to food.

The charged suspect in the crime was former UVA football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.

Gun violence impacted the GVSU community earlier this year when two students were injured in a shooting that occurred at the off-campus apartment complex Canvas Townhomes.

GVSU freshman Joli Grzywacz said she has a fear of more deadly incidents of gun violence happening at GVSU when she reflects on recent violence surrounding the campus.

“It’s awful for what happened to those students, and it must be saddening for their families,” Grzywacz said. “With the violence starting at GV, it’s alarming that it could even be a possibility here.”

Only one day prior to the shooting at UVA, four students at the University of Idaho were found dead in their off-campus residence.

The students, Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were killed in a three-story house in which the women were residents, according to MSN.

The four students had posted to Instagram earlier in the day, documenting what would be their last moments together.

Police believe someone had attacked them in their sleep, the victims succumbing to stab wounds. Some of the victims also sustained defensive wounds.

Officers are working around the clock to solve the brutal homicides, having received thousands of tips to the Idaho Police Station. So far, there are no suspects in custody and no motive has been identified. The weapon has yet to be found.

The tragic deaths of college students so close together strike home for fellow students around the nation. Even without attending either university, students are able to identify with and mourn the losses.

GVSU freshman Haley Rosendale reflects upon the tragedy with empathy and sadness.

“I’m devastated over the violence that happened at the colleges in Virginia and Idaho,” said GVSU freshman Rosendale. “It is so upsetting to think that the kids injured are college students just like me.”

The New York Times reports at least 609 mass-shooting events in America this year. As more deaths occur, it’s only raising more questions with no answers regarding what to do next and where to turn in the gun control and campus safety debates.