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Michigan State is set to resume classes following last week's mass shooting

People attend a candlelight vigil, for the victims of a shooting at Michigan State University, on Feb. 16. Classes are scheduled to resume days later.
Alex Wong
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Getty Images
People attend a candlelight vigil, for the victims of a shooting at Michigan State University, on Feb. 16. Classes are scheduled to resume days later.

Michigan State University will resume classes on Monday, one week after a gunman killed three people and injured five others on campus.

"No one thinks that we are coming back to a normal week," Thomas D. Jeitschko, the university's interim provost, said at a press conference on Sunday. "In fact, this semester is not going to be normal."

The resumption of classes comes as authorities continue the investigation into the motive behind the attack. The suspect, 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae, fled the scene after opening fire on the sprawling campus in East Lansing, Mich., and was found dead several hours later from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Two students were found dead inside Berkey Hall, while another student died at the MSU student union, the building next door. On Sunday, the university said it is moving hundreds of classes that previously took place in the two buildings to other locations for the rest of the school year.

The university's police department identified the victims as sophomore Brian Fraser and juniors Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner.

Fraser, from Grosse Pointe, Mich., studied business and was the Chapter President of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, according to The State News, the university's school newspaper. Anderson, also from Grosse Point, intended to graduate early in order to become a surgeon, according to The State News. Verner, from Clawson, Mich., studied biology, and was a league MVP basketball, volleyball and all-state softball player.

Initially, five other students were injured and in critical condition. Three of those students remain in critical condition, while one is in fair condition and another is in serious, but stable condition, MSU police said Sunday.

"We need more time to process without a class to worry about," the Editorial Board of The State News wrote in an editorial on Thursday. "MSU must extend the pause they've given us so we can decide how we need to proceed to feel safe and secure.

Nearly 23,000 people also signed an online petition asking that classes continue completely online, or follow a hybrid schedule.

"With Michigan State University being a public campus and an ongoing investigation, it is believed it is in the students best interests to be given a call of action to move forward with the school year," the petition reads.

At the press conference, Jeitschko said faculty will rework the syllabus for the remainder of the school year, including a lighter course load during the first week that classes resume. Students will also be able to choose "a credit/no credit" option for their classes at the end of the semester.

"There are many different things that students need, and I can't speak to all of them here," Jo Kovach, the university's student body president, said at the press conference. "But know that administrators, faculty and staff are listening. This is our campus, and we're not letting anybody take that from us."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Giulia Heyward
Giulia Heyward is a weekend reporter for Digital News, based out of New York. She previously covered education and other national news as a reporting fellow at The New York Times and as the national education reporter at Capital B News. She interned for POLITICO, where she covered criminal justice reform in Florida, and CNN, as a writer for the trends & culture team. Her work has also been published in The Atlantic, HuffPost and The New Republic.