Michigan State University, 12 days later 

By: - February 25, 2023 5:32 am

Mourners leave flowers at the MSU Union on Feb. 19, 2023, one of the locations where several students were shot during a mass shooting on Michigan State University’s campus. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)

After a mass shooting on the campus of Michigan State University took the lives of three students and put five more in the hospital, Spartans from across the country came together to remember the victims and try to begin the healing process. 

On Feb. 14, the day after the shooting that killed Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner, shoppers in East Lansing and surrounding areas could be seen streaming out of stores like Meijer with flowers in hand. 

But what wasn’t clear was whether they were buying those flowers for a loved one on Valentine’s Day, or to leave on campus at one of two campus landmarks that quickly became impromptu memorials. 


Campus was eerily still the day after students were warned to “run, hide, fight” due to an active shooter situation on campus, with classes canceled for the remainder of that week. 

But a constant stream of community members stopped by the Spartan Statue and The Rock, which was painted to read “HOW MANY MORE?” in red letters against a black background, throughout the day Tuesday to pay their respects and leave flowers and notes. 


Students began organizing by Wednesday, holding the first of three protests at the state Capitol that have already taken place with several more planned for future dates. 

Later that evening, hundreds of Spartans turned out for a candlelight vigil where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Interim President Teresa Woodruff and Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Izzo left flowers and spoke. Despite the size of the crowd, there was a solemn silence before the speaking program began. 


With students being given less than a full week before they were expected to return to classes on Monday, thousands flooded campus on “Spartan Sunday” to welcome students back to campus with gifts, puppies, hugs and messages of encouragement. 

While classes have resumed, things on campus have not returned to normal.


Hundreds of students walked out on Monday and held another protest at the Capitol, calling for more safety measures at MSU and gun reform. A second vigil took place on campus on Tuesday.

As students have expressed concerns with returning to campus so quickly, and faculty members have been given the flexibility to adapt their courses to meet students’ needs. 


Berkey Hall will remain closed for the rest of the semester. The Union is closed until further notice, but may reopen after a month or two according to an email sent to student organizations. Spartans have laid flowers at both sites in the days following the shooting.


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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a former reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.