Michigan State grapples with uncertain return to class

On Monday, Díaz-Muñoz and others are scheduled to return to class. The university confirmed in an email to students and staff on Friday that campus operations would resume, although officials have come under pressure to delay the return. There will be no classes for the remainder of the semester at Berkey Hall, where two students died, for the remainder of the semester.

Díaz-Muñoz said the university offered to have another professor teach until the end of the semester. Although he hasn’t made a final decision yet, his plan is to return next week and teach.

“On the one hand, I want to forget everything. But on the other hand, I think I have to help my students put the pieces back together,” Díaz-Muñoz said. “I think I have to help my students construct meaning.”

Some community members, however, are not ready for the quick return. The editorial board of The State News, the student newspaper, wrote on Thursday that they would not be attending classes next week, either in person or online. It took longer to heal, the students wrote.

In the days following the shooting, students on campus were seen packing their belongings to leave East Lansing with all activities closed for 48 hours and no classes until at least Monday. A petition demanding hybrid or online options for students received more than 20,000 signatures on Saturday. Michigan State has approximately 50,000 students, 19,000 of whom live on campus.

Díaz-Muñoz understands that some students won’t be ready to go back, saying some will always have “the fear of looking over their shoulder and looking out the window, the doors.”

“There are kids in my class graduating this semester. And they need this horrible nightmare to have a better ending than how it ended on Monday,” Díaz-Muñoz said.

In an email sent to faculty on Friday, the university said all students will be given a credit/no credit option this semester, which allows students to receive credit for all classes without it. does not affect their overall average. The email, written by Acting Provost Thomas Jeitschko, asked all teachers to “be as graceful and flexible as possible with individual students, now and in the weeks to come.”

“We encourage empathy and patience and an atmosphere where everyone can recover at their own pace,” Acting President Teresa Woodruff said Thursday.

Four injured students remain in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital, a hospital spokesperson confirmed on Saturday. One of them had been returned to stable condition on Thursday.

Dozens of people have died in mass shootings so far in 2023. In 2022, there were more than 600 mass shootings in the United States in which at least four people were killed or injured, according to Gun Violence Archive.

The Michigan state shooting happened Monday during night classes at Berkey Hall and near the MSU Union, a community center where students can study, eat and relax. Students on the sprawling campus were ordered to shelter in place for four hours – “run, hide, fight” if necessary – while police searched for Anthony McRae, 43, who ultimately took his own life when he was confronted by police not far from his home in Lansing.

Police said he left a note with a possible motive but did not say what it was. He was the lone shooter and had no connection to the victims or to the state of Michigan as a student or employee, they said.

Díaz-Muñoz describes hearing “explosions” outside his classroom before a masked man appeared at the door of room 114 and began shooting. The students hid behind desks and chairs before breaking the windows to escape.

After “one to two minutes” of shooting, the shooter turned and left, leaving behind “destruction and death in my classroom,” Díaz-Muñoz said.

For Díaz-Muñoz, the terror did not end so abruptly. The carnage that occurred in his classroom was “something you saw in a movie”, he said.

Díaz-Muñoz says he took prescription drugs to force himself to sleep, only coming out of his room “for a bowl of soup.”

The assistant professor said he is sharing his story in hopes of bringing about gun reform.

“If lawmakers and senators saw what I saw, instead of hearing on the news one more statistic. If they had seen these girls and the pools of blood that I saw, the horror that we experienced, they would have been forced to act,” Díaz-Muñoz said.


POLITICO

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