Hundreds of students and faculty gathered for a candlelight vigil at Tommy Trojan Wednesday night to remember the lives of Ying Wu and Ming Qu, two graduate students who were fatally shot Wednesday morning.
Wu and Qu were Chinese international students studying electrical engineering. John O’Brien, executive vice dean of engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, said the school has been greatly affected by the loss.
“I know that around the world the Viterbi community has been shaken by the news of this tragedy,” O’Brien said.
The Chinese Students & Scholars Association, the USC Office of Religious Life and several other organizations on campus collaborated to host the event. Wei Nan Wang, president of CSSA, emphasized that the vigil was meant for the entire USC community.
“We need to be more cautious,” Wang said. “This is for all students on campus, not just the Chinese.”
Varun Soni, dean of religious life, discussed the importance of campus unification after the unexpected loss of two students.
“We are struck silent, yet we feel the need to speak,” Soni said. “Now our community is even more important.”
Kalgi Desai, a freshman majoring in accounting, did not know the victims personally but said she felt a connection to them.
“I’m also an international student, and I came for grief and sharing the sorrow,” Desai said.
A family friend of Qu, who requested her name not be disclosed, spoke in Chinese about the hardships of being an international student, according to Clayton Dube, executive director of the USC U.S.-China Institute.
Denzil Suite, associate vice president for student affairs, said the Trojan Family will overcome the grief of losing two members by relying on each other for support.
“I personally have been in touch with the family members and we have spoken to the Chinese Consulate, and we will continue to work with the family and the consulate to ensure that we provide all the support that is necessary,” Suite said. “I know that we are here to share pain but to also show love and remember Ying and Ming, who have touched us with their lives.”
Xuan Wang, Wu’s roommate, said Wu loved to cook and study.
“She was a very nice girl and very positive,” said Wang, a graduate student studying computer science. “I’m very sad about this.”
USC Counseling Services has already began speaking to students who have been affected by the tragedy, said Ilene Rosenstein, director of USC Student Counseling Services.
“We may all have different responses to such a vile and tragic event,” Rosenstein said. “We may be questioning why and find no reason that would ever justify such a horrific loss.”
Thursday at 5:30 p.m. members of Student Counseling Services will be available to students at the Office of Religious Life.