Vigil at Oregon honors students killed at UC Santa Barbara

Vigil at Oregon honors students killed at UC Santa Barbara
Students, faculty, staff and members of the community all sat amongst each other in the Erb Memorial Union amphitheater for the vigil. The crowd was mostly emotional and somber but was broken up by some laughter and a number of smiles while honoring the victims of the University of California Santa Barbara killings. Andy Abeyta, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. - A candlelight vigil was held by University of Oregon students, faculty, staff and local community members Monday to honor victims of the University of California Santa Barbara killings in Isla Vista, California.

Event organizers Kelsey South and Leakhena ‘Leah’ Heng said they were aware of multiple groups on Facebook and within the community that wanted to hold a vigil, so they pulled the groups together in hopes of holding one large vigil.

South saod that it is important that we as a community deal with this tragedy by talking about issues such as gender violence, race, class, access to weapons, masculinity and mental health.

South and Heng are both doctorate students at the University of Oregon studying Counseling Psychology - and both have ties to UCSB. South is an alumni of the university, while Heng has two siblings currently attending the university. 

“First and foremost [the vigil] is to show support to communities that this is an issue that affects all of us,” South said, “to come together as a community at the University of Oregon and talk about it.”

Paul Shang, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, encouraged students to reach out and seek help from the University if needed.

Celine Saladin spoke on behalf of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, giving support and speaking about the two victims from UCSB’s chapter of the sorority.

“May the warmth of their smiles never be forgotten and the letters they have passed away with remain embedded on their hearts only to shine light, hope, and strength on the souls of their sisters at the University of Santa Barbara,” Saladin said, speaking about the members of the sorority who died.

University of Oregon students Alyssa Golditch and Misa Smith read a few words about each of the victims while candles continued to be lit throughout the crowd.

Before a moment of silence, Paul Fleck sang "Amazing Grace" as volunteers lit sky lanterns that unfortunately were unable to be released due to weather concerns.

Fleck also sang "You’ll Never Walk Alone" before South made closing comments to conclude the vigil.