A Unified Campus; Healing Alongside Our Peers

This morning, our community was overcome by extreme sadness upon hearing that three students were hit by a drunk driver on Saturday night.  The following announcement that one student had died brought further concern, shock, and grief.  President Glotzbach rightly said in an email to the community, “I know I speak for the entire Skidmore community when I say that we are mourning with Michael’s family and praying for the speedy recovery of Toby and Oban.”

            In light of this tough day, the Editorial Board came together to talk about what the campus has done and can continue to do in order to handle this tragedy as a community.  Andrew Demaree, Director of the Counseling Center, said we can find “organic sources of support - families, friends, coaches, etc.” The best example of such support might be an instance one Editorial Board member, who lived on the same floor as Michael, shared with us.  She explained that the first years living around her, who were all particularly close, spent the day very distraught. Amidst empty halls, the sobs of her peers bled through the walls.  In response to the students’ obvious grieving, some residents knocked on neighbors’ doors to lend some comfort and make sure that others were okay.  Amidst terrible distress, students went out of their way to make sure that the people around them were not suffering alone. 

Amidst empty halls, the sobs of her peers bled through the walls. In response to the students’ obvious grieving, some residents knocked on neighbors’ doors to lend some comfort and make sure that others were okay.

            At such a small school, we all feel a sense of solidarity among one another.  Many of us have spent weekend nights drunkenly walking down the same road that Michael died on. It’s easy to think, ‘it could have been me.’  But in times of unthinkable tragedy like this, it is that sense of solidarity and community at Skidmore that can be so valuable.  We are capable of coming together, sitting to talk for a few minutes, and feeling this pain together. 

            The aftermath of the incident is still unfolding.  With two students remaining in critical condition, Communications has reassured Skidmore News that they “are reporting things as they develop.”  Furthermore, they said, “we recognize people are interested and want to know more.”  This being said, we believe that Skidmore has done an effective job responding to Sunday morning’s incident—their communication has been constant and they have offered many sources of support, such as opening up the Dining Hall for free on Sunday night and providing extra hours at the Counseling Center.

We are capable of coming together, sitting to talk for a few minutes, and feeling this pain together.

            As students, what we need to do now is come together as a community and support each other.  There is no need for us to deal with this shock and grief alone. Counseling Center Director Andrew Demaree added that grief will come in waves, so we should stay sensitive to students who are coping in various ways.  And as we grieve, we need to remember that two students are still in the ICU.  Communications insisted that the 8 PM service on Monday is “a vigil, not a memorial.” So while we honor and remember Michael, we must remain hopeful for the two other first-years who were injured.  We can keep them and their families in our thoughts.

            Let’s use this tragedy as a time to unite and appreciate the close-knit community we have here.  By being present and together we can all find ways to help each other overcome this tremendous sadness. 

Editorial: Classroom Conversations Cripple Dissent

Advice for Coping from the Counseling Center, Office of Spiritual Life