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MSU to reopen building involved in mass shooting to students next month

Berkey Hall is set to reopen to academic classes Jan. 8
Berkey Hall will reopen to academic classes in January
Posted at 11:23 PM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 23:23:07-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Berkey Hall is where two Michigan State University students lost their lives on Feb. 13 in a mass shooting on campus. The building reopens to students in January 2024. Some students say it's too soon.

As Michigan State looks to heal from the shooting, school officials have announced that Berkey Hall will reopen for spring semester next month. The Student Union, where 20-year-old student Brian Fraser lost his life, partially reopened to students back in April.

Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner were inside Berkey Hall when a gunman opened fire inside their classroom earlier this year. They lost their lives and other students were critically injured. The trauma still follows students around 10 months later.

Senior political science student Taylor Greeson had class inside Berkey Hall four hours before the gunman opened fire, missing the incident by mere moments.

“Survivor’s guilt, no one tells you how horrible that is," she said. "Every day, this has been at the forefront of my mind for the last 10 months."

Greeson is strongly against the reopening of the building to students less than a year after the tragedy and voiced her concerns about the decision at the virtual MSU Board of Trustees meeting on Friday.

“I don’t feel like Michigan State is really hearing us when we say we need time," she said. “There’s no reason why 10 months later, we should be forcing students to come back into a building where their classmates were killed.”

Berkey Hall has been partially reopen since the start of the fall semester to faculty, academic and support staff and graduate students with office space in the building. Academic classes are set to resume in the building on Jan. 8.

While some students are not ready to return to the building for class, others say it’s the first step in not forgetting but memorializing.

“I think it’s a big step and it’s our first step to process and healing and we need to move forward," MSU freshman Kaleah Valera said.

Michigan State University's Media and Public Information Communications manager said in a statement:

“Following thoughtful conversations last spring involving students, faculty, staff and trauma experts, the overwhelming majority expressed a desire to reopen Berkey Hall using a phased approach. We know the healing process is not linear and that each person will heal at their own pace and in their own way.

Importantly, we strove to provide as many options regarding classes to as many students as possible. The university is and has been committed to supporting our community. Various offices, including the departments teaching in the facility, the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation, University Health and Wellbeing, and the Office for Resource and Support Coordination, have been actively preparing and supporting those who will be teaching and learning in Berkey Hall ahead of the return to classes, and will continue to do so throughout the Spring semester.

Supportive options will be available to all students and educators in Berkey Hall throughout the first week of classes, including welcome tables with amenities, counselors on-site, and support dogs. MSU community members needing additional support can access existing campus-based wellness resources.”

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