MSU students gather in remembrance of three students who were killed by a gunman on Monday. The university announced Sunday that a fund created in the wake of the tragedy will be used to cover medical costs for victims. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)
  • Hospital bills of students wounded in last week’s mass shooting will be paid by Michigan State University
  • Classes reopen Monday, but it’s unclear how many students will be attending 
  • Increased counseling options will be available to students, staff and faculty

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University will pay the hospital bills of five students wounded in the Feb. 13 shooting spree on campus, along with the funeral expenses of the three students who died.

This story also appeared in Bridge Michigan

Interim President Teresa Woodruff made the announcement at a news conference Sunday afternoon that focused primarily on efforts being made to ease the transition for students to return to classes Monday.

“We have 50,000 students and we may need 50,000 approaches” to healing, Woodruff said.

A 43-year-old Lansing resident opened fire in a classroom in Berkey Hall Monday evening at around 8:18 p.m., killing two students and wounded several others. McRae then walked to the MSU Union, where he fired more shots, killing a third student.

Services for two of the three students who died – Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner – were held over the weekend. A funeral for the third, Arielle Diamond Anderson, is planned Tuesday.

Four victims remain in critical condition and one has been upgraded from critical to stable condition. Two of the hospitalized students have GoFundMe fundraisers set up for them to help pay their hospital expenses and to help their families, with each fund collecting more than $300,000 in a week.

Those funds can now be used for other expenses for the victims and their families. Woodruff said MSU will pay the bills at Sparrow Hospital where all the wounded are being treated, “independently of those (GoFundMe donations).

Hospital and funeral costs will be paid for out of the Spartan Strong Fund, established last week by the university and which has collected about $250,000 so far.

That fund will also be used for student, staff and faculty counseling, Woodruff said.

Classes resume Monday morning, after being suspended Tuesday through Friday last week. Officials said it was unclear how many students would actually return to classes.

There was an online petition to allow a hybrid model for all classes, similar to the in-person/remote model used during parts of the pandemic.

That may happen in some classes, but it will be left up to decisions between individual faculty and students, said Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko.

Jeitschko said discussions with mental health professionals and officials at other universities that have suffered mass shootings led MSU leaders to decide it was better to bring students back to “familiar surroundings.’

“Coming back together will help us,” Jeitschko said, though acknowledging that “everyone heals at their own pace and own manner.

“No one thinks this will be a normal week,” he said. “In fact, this semester will not be normal.”

Students won’t see security enhancements when they return to campus Monday. “There may be an additional (police) visible presence, (but) to be honest, we haven’t made a lot of changes,” said Interim Deputy MSU Police Chief Chris Rozman.

On Tuesday, there will be a student-organized vigil at 6 p.m. at the campus Rock, as well as a town hall allowing students to speak directly to administrators at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall in Bessey Hall.

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