Students attend candle light vigil dedicated to killing of University student

The candle light vigil for Mengchen Huang, a University graduate student who was allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend on Sept. 27, was held around the Alma Mater on Tuesday night.

A crowd of people stood in a semi-circle around a single microphone.

“I decided to come here because I heard this story — I’m not personally attached to it and didn’t know her — but I thought it would be a good thing to do and honor her memory,” said Angie Pittman, graduate student.

The Women’s Resources Center sponsored the event and gave people the chance to speak about not only Huang’s death, but also about the issue of domestic abuse.

Pat Morey, director of the Women’s Resources Center, said when she started speaking out against domestic abuse 30 years ago, she never thought that domestic abuse would still be such a problem today.

Morey urged the crowd not to forget the images of domestic violence and to become aware of the signs of abuse to prevent tragedies like Huang’s death.

“Remember the black eyes, the broken limbs, the sleepless tortured nights, the bloody misshaped noses and purple lips,” Morey said.

Simple actions can make a big difference, she said.

“Revolutionary action is calling the police when you hear banging and screaming,” Morey said. “Revolutionary action is shouting when you see someone being beaten. Revolutionary action is giving a woman a number for a hotline.”

When a group began singing a West African song, members of the crowd quietly chimed along, put their hands on the neighboring person’s back, and swayed to the slow tempo of the vocals.

Morey gave anyone in the crowd a chance to stand in front of the two spotlights before the Alma Mater to explain how they felt personally about the death of Huang.

Jessica Nicholas, graduate student, shifted her weight back and forth and took quick gasps of air as she spat out a poem by memory. Others approached the microphone, some individually and some in a small groups, to sing songs and to express their feelings.

“I need a friend to come up with me because this is hard,” one speaker said while holding hands with another speaker. “It’s been on my mind all week,” with her eyes glimmering in the light because of tears forming.

Freshman Mew Jiang said she came to the vigil because Huang was a teaching assistant for her art history class. She couldn’t believe when she heard the news.

Still in disbelief, Jiang said Huang was more than just her TA — she was a friend.

Stanton can be reached at [email protected]