The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Students and administrators express concern following shooting at Michigan State University

Students reacted to the Feb. 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University by calling on Vanderbilt and student activists to take action toward gun reform.
Graphic depicting the official MSU logo. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)
Lexie Perez
Graphic depicting the official MSU logo. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

Vice Provost and Dean of Students G.L. Black sent an email to the Vanderbilt community regarding the shooting at Michigan State University that occurred late on Feb. 13. Students reacted to the tragedy and called on the Vanderbilt administration and student activists to take action.

Three students were killed and five were left in critical condition following a mass shooting at MSU on Monday night. According to MSUPD, a shelter-in-place was declared immediately after the first reported call about the shooter at 7:18 p.m. CST. Police were able to reach the suspect — who died of a self-inflicted gun wound — at 10:35 p.m. CST, but they have yet to confirm a motive. All MSU classes and campus activities have been suspended until further notice.

“This news is deeply upsetting and heartbreaking for us all, and it is understandable that these continued acts of senseless violence — particularly when they occur on college campuses — leave many of us shaken,” Black said in the email. “Please know that Vanderbilt stands ready to support you and that your safety is our priority.”

Sophomore and Students Demand Action member Zack Maaieh said the shooting was “tragic” yet “anything but surprising” and criticized Vanderbilt’s response.

“Michigan, like other states—including Tennessee—lacks common sense gun laws that can prevent these shootings. I’m heartbroken that gun violence is such a common threat and the number one killer of people our age,” Maaieh said in a message to The Hustler. “Vanderbilt has a responsibility to its student body to do more than send an email after a shooting happens.”

One of the students lost in the shooting was MSU’s Phi Delta Theta chapter President Brian Fraser. Vanderbilt’s Phi Delt Chapter President Nick McCoy, a sophomore, said the national fraternity is raising money in Fraser’s memory for the Brian Fraser Presidential Memorial Scholarship.

“On behalf of the Tennessee Alpha chapter, we are devastated by the tragic loss of fellow brother Brian Fraser due to the senseless act of violence that occurred at Michigan State. Brian was an integral part of his chapter and a leader in the Phi Delta Theta community,” McCoy said in a message to The Hustler. “As a fellow chapter president, I am extremely saddened and send my condolences to his brothers, family and friends.”

Sociology Professor Jihan Mohammed, who received her Ph.D. at MSU, said she spent a lot of time in Berkey Hall, where the first victim was killed, as it is home to the sociology department.

“I simply cannot comprehend this. I am glad that my professors and friends are (physically) safe but my heart aches for the families impacted by this tragedy,” Mohammed said in a message to The Hustler. “We can stop this nonsense, but I don’t know how many more should die until we do something about this problem, which is unique to the United States.”

Senior Laith Kayat, a Michigan native, said he received messages from his sister — a student at MSU — during the shooting as she spent the night barricading her dorm.

“Monday night, I couldn’t go to sleep until I heard what was going on. I was on my phone waiting for press releases and checking in with my sister every 15 minutes like, ‘Are you still okay? Just keep talking so I know you’re okay,’” Kayat said.

Several students at MSU posted on social media that they had also been enrolled at Oxford High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School, where they survived mass shootings on Nov. 30, 2021, and Dec. 14, 2012, respectively. Oxford is also located in Michigan and is located near Kayat’s hometown in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

“I can’t even imagine having to go through that twice. This is the closest I’ve gotten because my sister has now been involved in a mass shooting,” Kayat said. “The number of people who know someone who has been involved in something like this is growing exponentially.”

Kayat said his sister is safe following the shooting, which he partially attributes to the normalization of practicing lockdown drills while growing up.

“[School shootings are] becoming more and more normalized. I think that’s the biggest fear for me: that this is our normal. Once it becomes normal, there’s no incentive to change it,” Kayat said.

Kayat also said he wants to see the university and students on campus become more involved in activism demanding gun reform.

“For college campuses, I think it’s really important that we step up and let our voices be heard. We need something to be done about this because it hasn’t always been an issue,” Kayat said. “It’s something that’s very systemic to our society now because guns are so readily accessible.”

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About the Contributors
Alison Winters, Deputy News Editor
Alison Winters ('25) is from Franklin, Tennessee. She is majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her at the movie theater, reading a good book or attending a concert in Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Lexie Perez, Graphics Director
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
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