University community gathers to support, heal after campus attack
|Students show community support at Buckeye Strong rally|
Buckeye strong. That was the sentiment behind a community gathering at St. John Arena as students, staff and faculty of The Ohio State University came together Tuesday evening to reflect and heal following a campus attack.
Ohio State President Michael V. Drake opened the ceremony by reminding fellow Buckeyes of the value of community when tragedy occurs.
“Sometimes things happen that are unfortunate or hurtful to us. When those things happen, what helps us is when we come together in a spirit of community,” Drake said. “Tonight is important because it lets us come together in a spirit of community to be stronger tomorrow.”
At least 11 community members were hurt Monday after a car was driven onto a sidewalk and struck multiple people near the corner of West 19thAvenue and College Road on the Columbus campus. Police investigators say the car was driven by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Investigators say Artan also attacked pedestrians with a knife before he was killed by Ohio State University Police Officer Alan Horujko.
For the hundreds of students and staff who turned out at St. John, the night was about coming together after trauma and supporting the diversity of the campus community.
“In aftermath of this heinous attack, one thing must permeate: The Ohio State University is a place for all people, from all backgrounds and all beliefs,” Undergraduate Student Government President Gerard Basalla said. “We are a community of love for all people at all times.”
Horujko released a statement earlier in the day: “In the aftermath of such a traumatic event, I am very humbled by the amazing amount and outpouring of support from the Columbus community and beyond. Not just for me, but for all of yesterday's first responders. I know I acted just as any of the officers I serve with would have. I want to thank everyone again for their support and wish the campus community continued healing.”
The ceremony included a performance of Carmen Ohio by members of the marching band. Hundreds of students who turned up for the event held up illuminated cell phones in solidarity.
Sade Olatoye, a second-year student majoring in health sciences, joined students from the African Youth League to support members of the Somali Students Association. Olatoye said she had friends injured in the attack.
“We came out to show we are all one unit. We are all Buckeye Nation,” Olatoye said. “I just hope people who were affected by this or injured recover quickly.”
Students and staff were reminded that support resources are available through Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service and the Employee Assistance Program. Students can find help at the Younkin Success Center and 1030 Lincoln Tower. Staff can find support at 700 Ackerman Road.