New bench at CSU Channel Islands honors those impacted by Borderline tragedy

·2 min read
A bench commemorating victims and those impacted by the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting was unveiled at CSU Channel Islands Thursday. Twelve boot-themed planters honored those who lost their lives in the 2018 tragedy.
A bench commemorating victims and those impacted by the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting was unveiled at CSU Channel Islands Thursday. Twelve boot-themed planters honored those who lost their lives in the 2018 tragedy.

A bench to honor victims and those impacted by the 2018 Borderline Bar & Grill shooting was unveiled Thursday at CSU Channel Islands.

The bench, set up in a courtyard near the university's Counseling and Psychological Services, is meant to create "a space for individuals to heal and reflect for years to come," said Cindy Derrico, dean of students, during an afternoon ceremony at the campus south of Camarillo.

A plaque notes the seating spot is "in honor of those impacted" by the Nov. 7, 2018 tragedy at the Thousand Oaks country music club, where 12 people lost their lives during a Country College Night event. For Thursday's ceremony, a dozen boot-shaped planters filled with white flowers were set up to commemorate those who died.

That night, 49 CSUCI students were present, campus officials said, though none of them died. Still, many survivors suffered injuries and lasting trauma.

Jessica Webb, a CSUCI graduate who now lives in Boston, was a sophomore at the time. Webb worked with the university to create the memorial on campus.

Webb's mother, Jennifer Pippard, spoke at Thursday's gathering along with several school officials.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office provided the campus with a $250,000 grant this year to expand mental health services. The money funded the ceremony and bench, located in the Ralph Bliss Courtyard next to the Bell Tower building.

On the night of the shooting, a lone gunman opened fire in the Thousand Oaks club, resulting in 12 fatalities. The gunman killed himself at the scene.

Those killed are Sean Adler, 48; Cody Coffman, 22; Blake Dingman, 21; Jake Dunham, 21; Alaina Housley, 18; Daniel Manrique, 33; Justin Meek, 23; Mark Meza, 20; Kristina Morisette, 20; Telemachus Orfanos, 27; and Noel Sparks, 21.The 12th victim, Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, 54, was killed in the line of duty.

Richard Yao, the university's interim president, said both the Borderline tragedy and the 2018 Woolsey Fire took place during his first semester working at CSUCI. He said he appreciated that students continued their education even as major incidents impacted campus life.

"It means the world to me," Yao told Thursday's gathering. "In times of crisis, we came together as a campus community."

Cytlalli Salgado is a breaking news reporter for the Ventura County Star. She can be reached by calling 805-437-0257 or emailing cytlalli.salgado@vcstar.com.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: CSU Channel Islands unveils bench honoring Borderline victims

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