A heart-broken university heals together

The University of Vermont has, over the past two weeks, gone through what may have been the most tragic period in its long history, and no end is in sight. The memory of, and mourning for, Michelle Gardner-Quinn will not leave the hearts and minds of UVM’s community for a long time to come. The tragic events that have befallen what was once an idyllic town, nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain has made Burlington a place where people no longer feel safe to walk alone after dark. This will not be tolerated in a town with as much compassion and heart as Burlington. The UVM community has come out in force to support Michelle, her family, her friends and one another. Through candle light vigils, SGA resolutions and volunteer hours hanging up flyers and conducting searches, UVM has shown that it will stand up for its own. “This is what community response looks like,” read one poster, contending with numerous others for a space on the Waterman Green fountain, at Tuesday Oct. 3rd’s candlelight vigil. That poster, combined with the scene of over one hundred community members gathered, holding each other for support, silently sent best wishes for what, at that time, was the safe return of Michelle. Every person in the UVM community, and the larger Burlington community, has felt the shock of Michelle’s abduction and death. It will be a long time before a female is able to walk home alone without thought. The UVM and Burlington community must pull together at this time and support one another through this tragic period. Our deepest sympathies go out to Michelle’s family, who have been robbed of the chance to see her walk up to the podium and receive her degree in seven months. The loss that has befallen them is beyond comprehension. We can only offer our most sincere condolences and keep the memory of Michelle with us always. The outpouring of support from the UVM community despite the fact that Michelle had only been here for six weeks is a testament to her own wonderful personality, and the acceptance and inclusiveness of the UVM community. As we grow as a university, and reach that 10,000th student mark, let us not lose our small community atmosphere. UVM has been a model of strong and compassionate leadership throughout this unfortunate time. The administration has kept students up-to-date with the most timely information available via Web sites and emails. SGA has taken an active role in working with the Inter Residence Association to coordinate candlelight vigils and the green ribbon campaign. Leadership like this that will pilot UVM through its growth, keeping the University as tight-knit as it has shown it can be over the past two weeks. In the face of the evil that has befallen our community we must stand up and look towards a brighter future, one that we create together.Legal abortions keep women safe I was tremendously disappointed at the Cynic for its inclusion of a garish advertising circular which opposes the legal right of all women to safe and legal abortions. The publication denigrated women’s intellectual ability and implied that women choose to obtain abortions for the sake of self-involvement and convenience. Thoughtful and responsible women know that bringing a child into the world confers a tremendous obligation on the parents and most particularly on the mother. It takes a great deal of courage and honesty for a woman to look that responsibility in the face and acknowledge that she does not have the physical, emotional or financial resources to be a mother. Before the U. S. Supreme Court affirmed the legal right to abortion, thousands of women suffered, died or were rendered infertile by abortions performed outside the sphere of legitimate medical practice. Suggesting that we return to those repressive policies does a horrible disservice to young women just beginning their reproductive years. The same young women who are your readers, staff members and friends.