After facing an emotional rollercoaster on Monday after a student sent 11 people to the hospital by attacking them with a car and a knife, members of the Ohio State community came together in solidarity Tuesday evening.
OSU held a vigil Tuesday evening at St. John’s Arena to help the community process the events. University President Michael Drake, senior vice president for the Office of Student Life Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, Undergraduate Student Government President Gerard Basalla and Department of Public Safety Director Monica Moll spoke at the event. Members of the OSU marching band and the OSU music group CELLOHIO performed at the event.
All but one of the victims transported to OSU Medical Center have been released, Drake said during his speech. He said he had spoken to surrounding hospitals where the victims were taken. About half of the victims in other hospitals have been released and the rest are expected to be released in the next few days, he said.
“I’m really pleased to see the injuries were not more severe than that,” Drake said to the crowd.
Moll spoke to the crowd and had a message from Alan Horujko, the officer who shot and killed the attacker, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a third-year in logistics management. Although Horujko did not attend the vigil, Moll passed along his words of appreciation to the OSU community.
“In the aftermath of a traumatic event, I’m very humbled by the outpouring of support from the Columbus Community and beyond,” Moll read from Horujko’s message to the audience at the vigil. “Not just for me, but for all of the first responders. I know I acted just as any of the officers I serve with would have. I want to thank everyone again for their support and wish the campus community continued healing.”
Once police named Artan as the attacker, speculations as to why he carried out this attack began to arise on social media and in some major media outlets. Police have not yet declared a motive for the attack.
Christopher Travers, third year doctoral student in higher education and student affairs was one of the students in attendance Tuesday. He told The Lantern he never thought something like the attack would happen at OSU.
“I’m worried about backlash towards Somali and Muslim students. But we’re stronger together,” Travers said. “Remember the principles of being a Buckeye.”
Kyle Tatad, second-year in animal science, echoed Travers’ thoughts of shock and disbelief.
“(I’m) shocked and a little scared for all my friends. You never think this would happen to your school until it’s actually happening at your school,” he said.
Ihsan Saleh, third-year in political science, attended the vigil on Tuesday and said the worst part of the attack was the visibility of the attacker.
“It makes me scared the suspect was doing an interview with The Lantern,” Saleh said. “He was visible to the community before. No one was doing the right thing to prevent his actions.”
Before the event, Maliha Masood, a fourth-year in industrial and systems engineering and co-president of the Muslim Students’ Association at OSU, spoke to the Lantern. Initially when she heard the news of an attacker on campus, she said she was concerned about her friends that were still on campus. Though she was still fearful for her friends locked-in on campus, once the name of the attacker was released, her feeling of fear changed into grief.
“When the name came out, it was kind of sad,” Masood said. “It’s like not only are we grieving ourselves, we have to make sure we put across this is not what our religion is. We have to constantly make sure that not only that we stand and be the best people that we can be, but make sure that others don’t perceive us as a volatile religion.”
Nabeel Alauddin, fourth year in management information systems and co-president of the Muslim Students’ Association, said he has always felt welcomed at Ohio State and expects the community will remain welcoming. But he added he felt frustrated by having to explain himself and his religion.
“It’s frustrating, at times, to feel like you have to humanize to yourself to your audience,” he said.