Thursday, September 5, 2013

More on the September 3 Student Vigil

This afternoon, I spoke with Ms. Marsh on the telephone regarding the e-mail I sent her on September 3. This is the gist of our conversation: The original commemoration of Telkia Burns life did not involve an official student group. Rather, the request to use university facilities emanated from someone representing a group of students who were friends with Mr. Burns. The student "wanted to do something" to remember Mr. Burns but told Ms. Marsh that s/he did not even know where to start. Ms. Marsh told the student that since Student Affairs already had rooms reserved for Welcome Week, it would be possible to use one of those rooms for a memorial service. In addition, Ms. Marsh spoke to the student who organized the September 3 vigil and suggested that they could participate in the memorial already being planned. She had a meeting scheduled the next day with the September 3 organizer who, according to Ms. Marsh, forgot about the meeting and did not speak with her about what options existed for either participation in the original commemorative event or another possible memorial for Mr. Burns.

Ms. Marsh indicated that she desired to create a protocol for these kinds of circumstances so "students don't have to go through," additional stress at an already difficult time. She said that one possibility might be to designate a specific area on the university grounds for events that must be organized on short notice. Finally, Ms. Marsh said that there would be no discipline as a result of students holding the September 3 vigil. Ms. Marsh told me she had spoken earlier that day with the student organizing the September 3 event and that they had amicably resolved any issues or misunderstandings.

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