REMEMBERING BRANDON ROBINSON
University pays tribute to deceased student
By TARYN HARGROVE
and JERILYN GAMBLE
On Jan. 31, 2014, South Carolina State University held a candlelight vigil for slain student Brandon Robinson.
Students, faculty and staff from both S.C. State and Claflin universities assembled in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium.
In remembrance of the young football player who was shot to death on campus on Jan. 24, students gave musical selections and reflected on the occurrences over the past week.
Monet Heyward, director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, offered words of encouragement on the importance of life and living it abundantly.
She posed the question, "Are you wasting your life away or are you doing something with it?" Heyward challenged students to understand their purpose.
Akeem Brown, president of the S.C. State Student Government Association said, "Tonight is about the student body recommitting themselves to the pledge that Brandon made to receive an education and cultivate the environment."
Brown attended Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School with Robinson. He expressed his disbelief that the fatal incident occurred in his city and on his campus. "Tonight does not stop what we have to do. We have to continue the legacy," Brown said.
No representatives from the Robinson family were present. Robinson's mother did, however, reach out to S.C. State officials stating that the family appreciates the outpouring of support that they have given.
Students at Claflin, S.C. State
speak out about shooting
By JERILYN GAMBLE
and TARYN HARGROVE
On Friday, January 24, 2014, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a shooting occurred on the campus of South Carolina State University.
Outside of Andrew Hugine Suites is where Brandon Robinson -- a student and football player -- was shot and killed. While the incident took place at the university adjacent to Claflin, the university Department of Public Safety was quick to respond.
Claflin was placed on lockdown for about two hours. Students were told to remain in the buildings and Student Residential Centers. With the commotion going on in the city of Orangeburg, Claflin students were also shaken up and shocked by the occurrences as they expressed their concerns.
According to Zakariya Ali, a sophomore biology major at Claflin, "I was in Tingley and I tried to open the door and it was locked. Mrs. Barbara Razor told me that there was a shooting at State and Claflin took action immediately."
"I was not allowed to go out at all and I'd have to say, I felt a little bit safer," Ali said. He informed The Panther reporters that the cafe was also closed.
Ali said that he had not expected the shooting and initially thought that it could have happened as a result of rivaling fraternities.
Social media indicated that S.C. State students were saddened and infuriated by the tragic event. They lost a colleague and now perhaps the reputation of their school was at stake.
Calvin Brown, a senior mechanical engineer major at South Carolina State, described the tragic event as a day that will never be forgotten and one that has brought the students of S.C. State closer together.
Brown said, "I was surprised that an actual shooting occurred on our campus, especially in broad daylight when students were on their way to classes and leaving out of their dorms.
"It's really sad to know that a young man with a bright future lost his life, but as a university we are coming together because as Bulldogs that's what we do."
S.C. State students stressed that their university is still a safe place to receive an education.
Darryle Witherspoon, a senior professional English major said, "This could have happened anywhere. He (Robinson) did not leave home to get an education. He's from Orangeburg; he stayed home."
Witherspoon suggested that campus police do thorough checks for guns on campus.
Past and former students of South Carolina State organized a foundation that raised over $4,000 for the victim's family.
Funeral and memorial service information has yet to be released.
In the event of inclement weather conditions in the area,
Claflin University may delay or cancel campus operations
and classes. The above link contains a directory of media outlets
that will alert you to any delayed opening, early release
or closing information for Claflin University.
"Panthers Caught on Camera" photos by The Panther staff