Virginia State University's President is saying enough is enough when it comes to students being hazed. Keith Miller spoke out at a campus memorial Friday in honor of two students who died trying to cross the Appomattox River in what students describe as a hazing ritual.
Students and faculty searched for peace in the midst of sorrow.
"I come to bring you joy," the VSU Gospel Chorale sang out in a spirited selection.
The energizing sounds set the tone in what would've otherwise been a solemn occasion.
"The music helped uplift it," said student Christy Holmes.
The campus community united to remember Marvel Edmondson and Jauwan Holmes. Authorities found their bodies in the Appomattox River after students say a hazing ritual to get into the non-campus group "Men of Honor" went wrong.
"Outdated rituals performed in the name of brotherly love have no place in building a better world," said Miller.
First responders gathered to pay tribute to the two young men whose deaths put a damper on campus.
"It's been real quiet. The cafeteria's been quiet. You can tell something's happened," Holmes said.
"I know a lot of the freshmen are hurt because they were freshman," student Sequoia Wright added.
The freshmen's lives cut short, leaving Holmes' mother to rely on memories and the kind thoughts of others who brought flowers today, helping her get through such a difficult time.
"I have support," she said in gratitude.
And perhaps, a sense of joy, knowing her son will never be forgotten.
Four men are charged with hazing in this investigation by the Chesterfield Police Department. Although those two students never made it into that group "Men of Honor", Mitchell called both of them "men of promise".
Edmondson was an engineering major who loved to dance and play sports. Holmes was a physical education major described as "the life of the party" who liked to sing.
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