UMES Students Express Mixed Emotions On Recent Tragedies - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

UMES Students Express Mixed Emotions On Recent Tragedies

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PRINCESS ANNE - It was a day of reflection for the campus community at the University of Maryland of Eastern Shore on Wednesday.

Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered at the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts building for a vigil in memory of Edmond St. Clair and former student Dickson Muirruri.

There were so many mixed emotions coming from students - the wounds still so fresh. Some even pointed fingers at university officials.

"I was just standing there screaming and hoping that he would just hear me and wake up," junior at UMES Trenton Johnson said. A close friend of St. Clair, he watched in horror as the 21-year-old student slipped away in his brother's arms the night of February 16, after begin fatally stabbed in the University Terrace parking lot on campus.

Johnson says he places some of the blame on campus police and security. "If the people who stabbed him ran right in front of the security booth where I know there were at least three people standing, they should have done something - they could have stopped it. And I just feel like the security, the UMES cops - they're trying to act like they responded immediately, like they were doing what they were supposed to do, but it took them entirely too long to get there," he said.

While some are angry, others are still in shock.  It's still in the numbing process of grieving, so everybody really didn't know how to respond or how to act," UMES Student Government Association President Shana Washington said.

Just days after the death of St. Clair, former student Dickson Muirruri allegedly took his own life.

"The two tragedies like right back to back really hurt us and got us in a really negative standpoint right now," student Vicente Hernandez said.

As campus officials work to address all these issues, they say the stages of grief students are experiencing are all appropriate. "There are all sorts of emotional issues that may come up. Feelings of anger, the tendency to blame or be critical, sadness, depression - all of it we've seen," Director of counseling services Ron McLean said.

In response to some of the strong allegations coming from students, university officials released this statement: "We continue to assess and enhance our security measures. We understand some students may be frustrated and upset. We too are anxious to bring the assailant to justice."

Campus officials and organizations are working to facilitate discussions with students who are having a hard time with the loss. Prayer circles have been organized across the school. Counselors are walking around looking for students who look upset and need someone to talk to.

It appears these tragic events have put a temporary hold on planning for events during Dr. Bell's inauguration week in April. Officials tell us the inauguration is not the focus right now as they are placing all their efforts on the current situation at hand.

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