A small, somber gathering on the University of Oregon campus on Wednesday offered students and faculty a moment to be together and reflect on the senseless slaughter of elementary school children and teachers in Texas the day before.
They gathered outside the HEDCO Education Building at 11:32 a.m. Wednesday — coinciding with the start of the shooting Tuesday, which killed at least 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“I don’t have a script,” said Laura Lee McIntyre, acting dean of the OU College of Education. “I’m heartbroken. I have my ninth grader and my ninth grader, who went to school today – and I didn’t want to let go of my babies. For every parent, every teacher, every student, every member of the community who cares about improving the lives of our children and students, will you join me in your grief and devastation?I am reeling from my own grief.
McIntyre, who organized the rally, said there remains a role for the university community in the wake of the tragedy.
“What we can do together is show our love and compassion,” McIntyre said. “Use your voice. Use your heart. Use your pain to reach out and support others. It’s not business as usual. Take time. Take time to feel your feelings.”
The students in attendance kept their own advice when given the opportunity to speak, but the associate dean of the OU College of Education, associate dean for academic affairs, Lillian Durán, said the murders had her deprived of sleep.
“I just feel like the violence in our country has reached a level where we can’t sit idly by, and it has been that way for a long time,” she said. “We must come together to change the fundamental fabric of our nation. That is the job ahead of us.”
Nicole Coronado, a 21-year-old communication disorders and science student, shared her feelings after the event.
“Every ounce of attention has to be given to this because we’ve become so numb to this stuff,” Coronado said. “Every one of those kids who died in that shooting yesterday and every kid who died in a school shooting deserves so much better than just ‘Oh, that’s so sad, things have to change.’ It is not enough.”