ISLA VISTA (CBSLA.com) — Students Wednesday returned to classes at UC Santa Barbara for the first time since last week’s deadly rampage.
Counselors were available on campus for those mourning the deaths of six students and dozens more who were hurt by 22-year-old Elliot Roger when he went on a shooting spree through Isla Vista Friday night.
Veronika Weiss, Katie Cooper and Chris Martinez were fatally shot near campus before Roger reportedly killed himself. His roommates — George Chen, James Cheng and David Wang — were later found stabbed to death at their apartment complex.
More than 20,000 people attended a memorial service for the victims Tuesday afternoon at Harder Stadium.
“It’s kind of hard to go back to class and work and regular life,” student Armand Dowlati told KCAL9’s Amy Johnson on campus Wednesday.
UCSB English professor Aranye Fradenburg said she was in denial when she learned one of her students was killed in the tragedy, after Chris Martinez failed to respond to an email she sent out checking in on all of her students.
“He really was one of those people you instantly liked and trusted,” she said.
Fradenburg shared a few words of comfort and compassion with students in the campus’ Daily Nexus newspaper.
“What the faculty have learned in the aftermath of the Isla Vista shootings is how much we love our students,” her letter to the editor reads in part. “Perhaps love isn’t the right word for the bonds that link people who think, learn and work together.”
When speaking to Johnson later, Fradenburg said returning to class proved difficult for the UCSB community.
“They [students] really matter to us. You could feel it at the end of every class when you have to say goodbye to everybody. It’s sad. [There are] a lot of very sad, even terrified, students,” she said, adding that she hopes she can help her students heal from the tragedy.
The UCSB community has meanwhile created a 10,000 ribbon memorial for the victims in addition to a memorial wall that was set up at Pardall Center.
More services are expected to be held in Santa Barbara throughout the week.
On Thursday, students are encouraged to show their school and community pride by wearing blue and yellow UCSB clothing.