BUFFALO, N.Y.: SUNY Plattsburgh student Michael Casey was scrolling through his phone when he came across a news notification of an active shooting in a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo. He was filled with shock and pain that only grew worse as more information from the incident came out.
After the violence, which left 10 dead and three injured, settled, students and faculty across all SUNY campuses are left feeling like Casey.
Shooting suspect Payton Gendron was enrolled in SUNY Broome Community College from the Fall semester of 2021 to March 22, according to a SUNY representative.
The State University of New York, or SUNY, is the largest string of collegiate institutions in the United States, serving over 390,000 students across 64 public college and university campuses.
“We were heartbroken to learn that the gunman, a former student of our community, entered an east Buffalo supermarket with the specific intent of killing innocent people of color,” SUNY Broome President Dr. Kevin Drumm said in a statement on May 6 regarding the suspect. Drumm followed up in a tweet the following Thursday showcasing Broome’s cooperation with the press and authorities by releasing all disclosable information on Gendron during his time enrolled in the school.
“The State University of New York, especially Binghamton University which is the nearest campus as to where the shooting [was], there are a lot of people of color who are very concerned for their safety,” said Plattsburgh student Michael Casey, who is the newly elected Vice President of the SUNY Student Assembly.
“A young kid planned out a careful and exact plan of how he was going to murder as many people as possible, specifically black people,” Casey said. “I was very pained that it happened and that it was one of our own in the State of New York that did it.”
In response to the shooting, SUNY put out a press release saying that their western New York campuses will double down on safety and security efforts. They also announced that mental health counseling will be offered on a variety of campuses to students who may have been emotionally affected by the incident.
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