MSU students continue processing emotions, prepare for return to campus in wake of deadly shooting

Cate Cauguiran Image
Monday, February 20, 2023
MSU students continue processing emotions, prepare for return to campus in wake of deadly shooting
They are trying to prepare them for what undoubtedly will be a heavy day.

LA GRANGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Many parents in the Chicago-area are having tough, but much-needed conversations with their children as they made their way back to the MSU campus this weekend. They are trying to prepare them for what will undoubtedly be a heavy day.

In the days since the deadly shooting at Michigan State University, Ellie deZonna is still processing her emotions, as if she's grasping at straws.

"I'm sad and then I feel nothing and then I don't even remember if it actually had happened," said deZonna.

The sophomore from Northbrook doesn't have class until Thursday, but is returning early, she says, to find common ground with others.

"Everyone who was on campus that night understand what everyone else went through, and its just nice to know that I'm not the only one who's feeling the way that I do," she said.

Alicia Fonseca is concerned, as any parent would be, as her daughter prepares to go back to classes at Michigan State University following last week's tragedy.

"I know these kids are going to need healing and it's going to take some time," Fonseca said.

Fonseca's daughter, Emily Rodriguez, is a freshman studying Education at MSU.

RELATED: 'Spartan Strong': Michigan State students, alumni hold vigil in Chicago for 3 killed in MSU shooting

"She actually sent me a picture and she's all smiles, and I love that she's back on campus and she's happy and she's enjoying the day," Fonseca said.

Earlier Sunday, university officials and leaders detailed what that return to campus for students, staff and faculty will look like, noting not all people agree with the decision to return.

"We know that everybody heals at their own pace and in their own manner. And so, getting it exactly right will not be possible, but we will do the best we can and support each other," said Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Thomas D. Jeitschko. "We trust our instructors to make the professional decisions that they have to in this context in order to work in a manner that they can work and that they can work with students."

WATCH | MSU officials speak on plans to return to campus after shooting kills 3 students

MSU officials spoke about plans to return to campus after a mass shooting killed three students.

The university said, going forward, academic accommodations would be available on a case-by-case basis for students. Mental health resources, like counseling would be offered at no costs for those who need it.

They also said Berkey Hall and the MSU Student Union, where the shootings occurred, would be closed for the rest of the semester.

The La Grange Park mother was comforted by the return plans and acknowledged the weight that Monday carries for many.

RELATED: What we know about the Michigan State mass shooting victims

"My heartbreaks for the families who lost, you know, their children," Fonseca said. "It's overwhelming, you know, just thinking about that roommate that no longer has that roommate with them. Or the friend who had, you know, who's missing the person next to them. It's just heartbreaking."

"I'm just glad that they're trying to accommodate for everyone's different situation," deZonna added.

On Tuesday, students have organized a vigil in honor of the three students killed, along with a town hall meeting for students to speak to administrators on how to best move forward.