History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 31

31 memorial on the SW 34th Street graffiti wall was created by students in 1990 and is diligently protected and repainted by today’s students. Under President Lombardi’s and Sandeen’s leadership in cooperation with strong leadership from Santa Fe College and the Gainesville/Alachua County community, UF and its host community survived a crisis that threatened the safety, stability, and future economic success of the whole community. Sandeen credited the strength of the Student Affairs staff, the cooperation of multiple agencies, open communications, and UF administrators’ availability to the media and other publics with the successful recovery of the community. This success included established yet flexible crisis protocols including provisions for handling the media, rumor control, sensitivity to the needs of victims, communication with victims and families, and follow-up assessment of crisis protocols by staff. The spree of murders stopped. Most of the thousands of students who fled the UF campus in panic returned to continue their education as the communitywide task force with assistance from federal agencies continued the police investigation. A community seeks and needs closure to a crisis or tragedy, and justice is sought in the memory of victims. Often closure and justice are not forthcoming. Nine long months passed before Danny Rolling was publicly named as a suspect in the Gainesville Student Murders and jailed. Rolling pled guilty in 1994 during jury selection for his trial and was sentenced to death. Rolling was executed in 2006, sixteen years after the murders. The Gainesville Student Murders had closure and justice, the UF and Gainesville community grew stronger, but a loss of innocence was felt in the community. SW 34th Street Wall Memorial to the victims of the 1990 Gainesville Student Murders Photo Credit: UF Archives Digital Collection I ntr od uction