Provost Edwards: Our community needs to unify

Wright State held a vigil to honor Megan Betts and other victims killed in the Sunday morning Oregon District shooting / Photograph: Sarah Cavender
Wright State held a vigil to honor Megan Betts and other victims killed in the Sunday morning Oregon District shooting / Photograph: Sarah Cavender

Raiders and community members gathered in the atrium of the Student Union on Monday afternoon to remember Megan Betts one of the victims of the Oregon District shooting that took place on Sunday morning at 1:14 a.m.

Interim Vice Provost Dr. Gary Dickstein opened the vigil with reading the names of the victims that died in the shooting.

“Acts of violence like this tend to invoke very strong emotion,” Dickstein said. “Anger, sadness, frustration, just to name a few. As a member of both the Oregon District and the Wright State community, I find myself experiencing many of these emotions as well.”

Over 200 people from the campus community attended the event, students, community members, administrators, a board of trustee member and staff and faculty were present. People sat around the podium, stood where they could and filed around the upper level staircase and ledge.

“Today as many of us struggle with making sense of what seems to be an incomprehensible act, one we are becoming all too familiar with, I will ask you to remember a couple of things. There is absolutely strength in numbers, we are much stronger united than we are divided. Please do not let us be divided by words and actions of others, we continue to work together to make our community a better place. If not for us than for who will follow.”

Dickstein ended his speech with a quote by Owen Henry James.

“Owen Henry James said there are three things in life that are important; the first is to be kind,” Dickstein said. “The second is to be kind. Can anyone guess what the third is? To be kind.”

Dr. Kimberly Warrick followed with a performance of Saving Grace. Warrick is the coordinator of vocal studies at Wright State. Bett’s was a member of the choir on campus.

“We mourn the loss of nine individuals who were just out enjoying a Saturday night,” Provost Susan Edwards said. “In particular we are here to remember Megan, who was one of our own.”

The provost thanked the first responders and those that were quick to help during the active shooting in the Oregon District early Sunday morning.

Wright State held a vigil to honor Megan Betts and other victims killed in the Sunday morning Oregon District shooting / Photograph: Sarah Cavender
Wright State held a vigil to honor Megan Betts and other victims killed in the Sunday morning Oregon District shooting / Photograph: Sarah Cavender

 

“At 22, she had her whole life ahead of her. She was studying environmental science and her colleagues are here to support her. She was hoping to make a change and make a difference in our lives. She was going to be an influencer of that change,” Edwards said.

Edwards continued by reminding those in the community that have been impacted by the shooting to support one another and check in on friends and family.

Faculty senate president, Laura Luehrmann thanked the community who were present but also recognized those who were not.

“We also know there are many more in our community who gather with us in spirit,” Luehrmann said. “Who are either unable to be with us today because they are out of town, or for whom such a public gathering in a time of such tremendous tragedy is too painful. And we think of them in this moment as well.”

Luehrmann also thanked the first responders for their heroic acts and prevented the shooting from being much worse.

“As faculty we are each living our vocation, to work with the bright young minds, with whom we are so fortunate to interact,” Luehrmann said. “Gatherings like today, are not at all on our mind when we choose to live out our call as educators, yet here we are.”

She then gave a call to the community to have the difficult conversations and support one another.

A prayer was done by Father Ethan Moore from Wright State’s Catholic Campus Ministry.

“I’m reminded of the words from the gospel of Matthew, which says come to me all you who are wavered and burdened and I will give you rest. It is true we are burdened with this grief and our hearts ache in the loss of Megan and in this place in which we find ourselves as a city and as a university.”

The vigil ended with a speech by Student Government Association President, Ivan Mallett.

“The events that took place this past weekend is a sobering reminder that these events are not just things we see that other people have to deal with,” Mallett said. “This weekend we are forced to recognize that it can happen to anyone of us, anywhere. We have to recognize that names we see on TV and in newspapers can sometimes be our friends, our classmates and our students.”

Mallett ended the vigil by reminding his community to support one another and check on friends during this time.

“I pray that Megan finds the peace that she was robbed of,” Mallett said.


Wright State is providing counseling services to students, staff and faculty during this time:

Confidential counseling services are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Counseling and Wellness Services which is located in 053 Student Union.

You may also reach a staff member by calling 937-775-3407.

After normal business hours, you may also call our 24-hour crisis phone service, Raider Cares by calling 833-848-1765 (TTY: 314-485-4345).

For our faculty and staff, counseling services are also available through the Employee Assistance Program. Call 800-227-6007 or visit the Impact Solutions website at http://www.myimpactsolution.com for more information.