UC declares day of mourning

5/27/2014

By Kate Mather and Joseph Serna

By Kate Mather and Joseph Serna

Los Angeles Times

(MCT) — UC Santa Barbara declared a day of mourning and reflection Tuesday as the campus struggled to come to grips with the slayings of six students in Isla Vista on Friday.

The campus community has been roiled in grief and disbelief days after authorities say Elliot Rodger, 22, stabbed his three roommates to death and then set off on a deadly shooting rampage, killing three others before turning the gun on himself.

A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Harder Stadium, where students are expected to bring 10,000 ribbons made to represent the "community's collective mourning, reflection, and recovery," according to the Facebook page for the university's residence halls association.

The university also extended professors' office hours for students who need to talk, established a call center and set up emergency housing for distressed and displaced students. Grief counselors are also to be available at the campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

UC system President Janet Napolitano said in a statement Monday that it was time for grieving and consoling in the wake of "this senseless event."

"This is a time for mourning and grieving, and for consoling and supporting each other," Napolitano said. "It will take time for our UCSB colleagues to recover and heal from this."

Also on the itinerary for Tuesday, students can visit a memorial wall at the Associated Students Pardall Center and dog therapy sessions from noon to 3 p.m. on the Student Resource Building lawn. There will be an interfaith candlelight vigil later in the day.

Students across the University of California system, meanwhile, have been sharing in the grief with those in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista.

Thousands of students attended candlelight vigils at UCLA and UC San Diego Monday night, and more were scheduled at UC Riverside and UC Irvine.

Authorities said Rodger first killed his roommates — identified as Cheng Yuan "James" Hong, 20, George Chen, 19, and Weihan "David" Wang, 20 — inside the two-story Capri Apartments before driving to the Alpha Phi sorority house at about 9:30 p.m. and pounded on the door for more than a min--inside the two-story Capri Apartments before driving to the Alpha Phi sorority house at about 9:30 p.m. and pounded on door. No one answered.

Failing to get inside the sorority house, Rodger opened fire on women who were standing outside, killing Katherine Cooper, 22, and Veronika Weiss, 19, authorities said. Before the rampage was over, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, was also killed and 13 others were injured.

The killings, sheriff's officials say, were carried out as part of what Rodger called his "day of retribution" against the world, which he had laid out in a 137-page document.

In his written tirade and in YouTube videos, Rodger blamed his loneliness and misery on the indifference shown him by women and his exclusion from the campus party crowd. But those who knew the stabbing victims say they were far from avid party-goers.

"These are not party guys — James, David and George," Bonan Yan, a computer science major, said of the slain roommates.

"During this terrible time for our UC community, I ask that you join me in the belief that the process of healing and reflection we will go through in the coming days will draw us closer as a university community," she said. "Together, we will get through this."

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