EAST LANSING, Michigan (AP) – Michigan State University students and faculty returned to the East Lansing campus Monday as the university resumed normal operations a week after a gunman shot dead three students and injured five others.
The university’s 50,000-student campus remained relatively quiet on the first day as many professors allowed students to attend classes virtually, and some students instead opted to attend a planned protest at the state capitol in the afternoon.
In an email sent to faculty on Friday, the university said all students will be given a credit/no-credit option this semester, allowing students to receive credit for all classes , without affecting their overall grade point average. The email, written by interim provost Thomas Jeitschko, urged all teachers “to share as much grace and flexibility as possible with individual students now and in the coming weeks.”
Brogan Kelley, a Michigan State University freshman, left East Lansing to return to his family in West Michigan after last week’s shooting but drove back on Sunday so he could attend classes in person. He said he felt it was important to “get back into my life.”
“For me, if I didn’t go to class, it felt like I would have let the shooter win. I didn’t want this one tragedy to define the place I call home and the university that gives me my education,” Kelley said.
Kelley, who was in an off-campus home at the time of the shooting, said the majority of his professors gave students the option to attend classes in person or online, with many students choosing the latter.
The Michigan state shootings happened last Monday during evening classes at Berkey Hall and near the MSU Union, a social center where students can study, eat and relax. Students on the massive campus were ordered to take shelter – “run, hide, fight” if necessary – for four hours while police chased after Anthony McRae, 43, who eventually killed himself when he was walking not far from his home in Lansing was confronted with the police.
Two wounded students remain in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital, university police said Monday. Two other students were in stable condition, and one other student was in “fair condition.”
The university has been criticized by some in the community for returning too quickly. The editors of the student newspaper The State News wrote on Thursday that they would not be attending classes in person or online next week. It takes more time to heal, the students wrote.
A student-led protest was scheduled to take place Monday afternoon outside the state capitol in downtown Lansing demanding a gun reform bill. March for Our Lives founder David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland School shooting, met with Michigan state students and Michigan state legislators for a press conference outside the state capitol before the protest to call for gun reform.