UC Merced’s campus reopened on Friday, Nov. 6, two days after a student suspect was apprehended and shot by police for stabbing four people on campus.
The student suspected of stabbing four people, 18-year-old Faisal Mohammad, was fatally shot by campus police early Wednesday morning on UC Merced’s Scholars Bridge. Following the incident, the campus was shut down for two days afterwards.
Associated Students of UC Merced (ASUCM) Organizing Director Bianca Negrete was among the first to see the police cars pull up to the scene on the morning of the incident. She started to lock down some of the buildings and encouraged people to wait and stay inside until the situation cleared up.
Negrete and fellow members of the ASUCM met Wednesday night to outline how best to respond to the needs of students following the incident.
“As soon as we heard the news, we couldn’t sit still. We wanted to have a formal way to bring our community together,” said Mauricio Trejo, ASUCM Senate-at-Large member.
Right after the incident, one of the main concerns students voiced was their discomfort about returning to campus and having to walk across Scholars Bridge, where the suspect was shot. Passing through the bridge is unavoidable, as it is only way to get to campus.
“No one wants to have to walk by somewhere where they know somebody was just shot two days ago,” said Negrete.
Negrete felt compelled to make sure students had support available when classes resumed Friday morning and students would need to pass through the bridge.
As early as 5:30 am on Friday, Negrete visited the bridge to support students as they made their way across the bridge. Almost two hours later, others gathered alongside Negrete and set up signs of encouragement with messages including “We’re here for you” and “Let’s take back our bridge.”
Negrete described the beginning of the morning as “glum,” but spirits soon picked up as more students started volunteering to hold signs of support and hand out free coffee and breakfast burritos.
On Friday night, following the show of support at Scholars Bridge, UC Merced students held a vigil in support of the four victims.
Negrete described the campus as “slowly feeling like home again.” She and others plan on helping others cross the bridge again after the weekend.
The campus and community are currently advocating the hashtag “Bobcat Strong” by wearing it on printed shirts and buttons and through social media.
According to Negrete, the hashtag intends to show that UC Merced is still a strong community.
“A student died on our campus. One of us died on our campus. That is what matters the most,” said Trejo.