UB proceeded with its fall 2022 Open House Saturday, less than 24 hours after a fatal stabbing at the Ellicott Complex residence halls. Residence hall tours, including those of the Ellicott Complex, were canceled for the day, instead replaced with a Campus Living presentation in the Natural Sciences Complex.
The Fall Open House is an event for prospective students and their families, consisting of tours of UB’s North Campus and presentations from financial aid, admission and academic departments, among others.
“I think it would give off the wrong kind of vibe of how the campus actually is,” Kieran Tully, a sophomore communication major, said. “I think that is the only time I have as a sophomore seen anything of that nature happen. Now for kids to come to this school, the one time they come to visit, this happens.”
University Police responded to reports of a male suffering from a chest wound at Moody Terrace, a roadway near Richmond Quad, shortly after 7:30 p.m. Friday night. The victim, who was later identified as 19-year-old Tyler Lewis, a Buffalo State College student, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Police are actively searching for the suspects involved. One person of interest has been described as a “white male, between 19 and 22 years of age, [with] light brown hair, medium build and approximately 5’5 to 5’9 in height.” The suspect was also seen with multiple facial lacerations and a mustard-colored shirt covered in blood. He fled the scene in a black, four-door sedan.
Students woke up Saturday to find that crime scene tape had been completely removed from the area, which showed few signs of Friday night’s incident.
“[The Open House] could come across as a little insensitive,” freshman communications major Grace Boylan said.
Joselyn Osorio, a sophomore speech and hearing sciences major, said she was “nervous” about having so many new people on campus.
“I feel when something like this happens, you’re very guarded,” Osorio said. “‘Oh, who do I usually not see that’s here?’”
The Spectrum reached out to representatives from Admissions, Campus Living and Student Life and Residential Advisors regarding the status of Saturday’s Open House.
The RAs all declined to comment, referring The Spectrum to their supervisors.
“The safety and well-being of the campus community is always the top priority,” Dawn Reed, Interdvisional Marketing and Communications Director, said in a statement to The Spectrum. “After consultation with university leadership and University Police, it was determined it was safe to continue the event. Staff participating in today’s event were updated and provided information to help facilitate any questions received from guests. Many current students serve as tour guides, ambassadors or in other roles during on-campus events. The Office of Admissions and campus partners were prepared to accommodate any student’s request to not assist with the event.”
There were no reports at the time of request of any students opting to decline providing tours.
“University Police investigators have made significant progress in the investigation and believe this was a targeted act of violence, stressing there is no ongoing danger to the university community,” the university said in a UB alert Saturday.
As a safety precaution, UPD has increased patrols in the area.
UPD is “urging” those with any information related to the case to contact them at 716-645-2222.
Students who have been impacted by this incident can call UB Counseling Services at 716-645-2720 or Erie County Crisis Services’ 24-hour hotline at 716-834-3131. Crisis Services can also be contacted by texting “GOT5” to 741-741.
Alisha Allison contributed reporting to this story.
Morgan S.T. Ross is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Morgan Ross is an assistant news/features editor.