By AFRO Staff
Though news of the Oct. 3 shooting on the campus of Morgan State University spread quickly across the nation, students and members of the Morgan community are hoping their message of strength, perseverance and unity is carried even farther.
Students of the historically Black college were closing out their 2023 coronation activities when shots rang out. In total, one woman and four men were shot, but all of the victims sustained non-fatal injuries. Now, students find themselves trying to deal with the sting of gun violence, all while holding onto the precious memories of this year’s homecoming season– cut short by the violence.
“The coronation was a beautiful event. Well orchestrated and executed by our brilliant students and staff at Morgan,” said 18-year-old Gabrielle Hall. “The crowd was very vibrant and enthusiastic to celebrate our royal court. It was a very uplifting event and an amazing display of Black excellence. The atmosphere was filled with nothing but love and community.”
Tanajha Nazora, Miss Freshman for the 2023-2024 academic year, explained how grateful she is to have the support of the MSU community through this difficult time and how proud she is to stand with her fellow Morganites.
“I hopped into such a big position as a freshman and being the face of my class,” said Nazora, in a Facebook post, recapping the coronation ceremony. “Again, I’m just thankful. I ask that you guys please continue to keep my school in prayer. I love my Morgan State family. We will get through this.”
Classes were canceled on Oct. 4, along with the homecoming concert, the homecoming pep rally and parade. The silent concert planned and all activities related to a Lady Bear volleyball match were also called off. Only two activities were postponed instead of canceled, the highly anticipated football game against Stony Brook University and the MSU 39th Annual Gala.
Though some students are staying away from the campus– of their own volition, or at the demand of parents– others say they will absolutely return.
“Morgan State is a home away from home. Everyone is welcome and it provides amazing opportunities for all despite your background or academic history,” Hall told the AFRO. “I personally have been able to grow and find amazing people here that have encouraged me to be myself and step out of my comfort zone. The community at Morgan is like no other from the amazing staff, our many organizations, and even just average people you meet everyday.”
“The Bears are a family and that’s something you will have even after you leave this institution,” she continued.
Elected officials weighed in with their thoughts in the hours and days after the event.
“It sickens all of us that no place is safe from this type of gun violence. Mass shootings in Baltimore and this flagrant disregard for human life will never be allowed to become the norm,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.-07), an alum of the institution and chair of the Morgan State University Board of Regents. “Be assured that the vicious criminal(s) responsible for this will be convicted, punished, and removed from our streets.
“We remain Morgan proud and Baltimore strong.”
In a message to the MSU community on Oct. 4, David K. Wilson, Ed.D., president of the institution explained the decision to cancel events.
“Today, we unfortunately find ourselves navigating this tragic event during a time at which we should be celebrating our National Treasure during Homecoming. Please understand that the safety of our campus is of the utmost importance and our resolve in ensuring that we have a secure campus is paramount,” stated Wilson, in the letter. “In response to last evening’s events, we are aggressively increasing security measures on campus, further amplifying additional security measures that have been implemented in recent years.”
“Regarding Homecoming, regrettably for the very first time in Morgan’s history all activities planned around Homecoming will be either canceled or postponed until the perpetrator(s) of this atrocity have been found and brought to justice,” explained Wilson.
“We arrived at this decision after very careful—and at times emotional—deliberation with key stakeholders within our University community including members of my administration, student leaders from SGA and our University Council,” he wrote. “In closing, I want to reiterate our unwavering commitment to delivering a safe campus for our entire Morgan family. We greatly appreciate the support of our larger community who have expressed their concern and support during this most trying time. As more details become available, please know that you will hear from me in the coming days.”
For more information and updates visit Morgan.edu.