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September 25, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


NORTHWOOD TRAGEDY

The Michigan Daily -'

Housing assures campus is safe

By Mike Spahn
Iaily stair Reporter
Personal safety is something many
students take for granted. But with the
murder of LSA senior Tamara Williams
at the Northwood Family Housing
Complex on Tuesday, many people are
*ndering what the University is doing
to ensure campus safety.
Officials say there is no cause for
alarm.
"Residents of (University) Housing
have a much better trained police force
with our system,"said Joel Allan, direc-
tor of Housing security.
Non-deputized' security officials
patrol each of the campus residence
halls. These individuals split up the
lls, patrolling' them at all times and
sponding to the needs of other area
patrolmen.
"We have 13 minimum on duty, and
two supervisors," Allan said.
It was two of these officers who were
the first on the scene at Northwood.
When the first 911 call arrived, the
campus security official assigned to

Northwood and a second official
assigned to Northwood and Baits
Housing complex responded, Allan
said.
"The response time to the first 911
call was very rapid, both by campus
security and the (DPS) officer," said
Alan Levy, director of Housing public
affairs.
Allan said the responding officers
behaved properly. ie said that non-dep-
utized security officers are told not to
intervene in a situation involving a
weapon, but rather to stay close and call
DPS officers. It was a DPS officer who
shot and killed Kevin Nelson after com-
manding him to stop stabbing Williams.
It was the first time a DPS officer fired
a gun while on duty.
"They were the first there, took
positions where they could see, and
then backed up the officer when he
arrived about a minute later," Allan
said.
Non-deputized campus security offi-
cers do not carry weapons.
"My policy is not to carry any

weapons at all," Allan said. "They go
through training in verbal judo, pres-
sure points and after that point, they
must call for assistance."
DPS officers are allowed to carry
firearms, a fact that worries some stu-
dents. But Levy says officers use their
power responsibly.
"Seeing that this was the first use
of a firearm in seven years, clearly it
has not been" an issue Levy said,
adding that there is a "need to care-
fully review everything that hap-
pened, and the result may be that we
change some things."
Leo Heatley, director of DPS, said
officers train regularly for the use of
firearms.
"We know that firearms are so
important, so (officers) train with them
every month," Heatley said. "They must
qualify twice a year in firearms test-
ing."
One question that arose was
whether the officer had to shoot
Nelson, who was stabbing Williams
at the time.

lie was hoping he could save
(Williams') life.' "leatley said. "Our
officers go though extensive training.
including a program on when they can
shoot, which is called 'shoot/not shoot.
"An officer must believe he is saving
a person's life. or that he was threat-
ened, to use lethal force."
Campus security works very closely
with DPs and the Ann Arbor Police
Department to keep the area sate, Lev y
said.
"This is generally a safe campus,
but bad things happen," Levy said. "1
feel confident that the services and
staffing are amongst the best in the
country."
Director of Family Housing Eric
Luskin, who oversees the Northwood
housing complex, said security cannot
be left to professionals alone.
"I think campus security is a commu-
nity concern, and everyone in that com-
munity needs to work together to ensure
security," Luskin said, adding that he
hopes changes can be made to improve
the safety of residents.

IJIL
inued from Page 1A
Tamara Williams leaves behind a 2 1/2-year-old
daughter, Kiera, who has become the focus of efforts
to memorialize Williams' life.
"We are in the process of setting up a fund with a
local bank to accept donations on behalf of Tamara's
daughter, Kiera,"said Bethany Steffke of the Office of
Student Affairs. "It will be an educational fund. We
invite everyone to join us."
Steffke said about 10 people called yesterday to
find out about ways they could contribute.
* A number of her friends were interested in doing
something in her memory for her daughter," Steffke
said.
"The spirit behind the fund is to further the educa-
tion of her daughter, which Tamara was doing on cam-
pus through her own education."
Steffke. said that it is not uncommon for students to
set up a fund after a tragedy. When LSA senior Arati
Sharangpani died in a Comair plane crash in January,
a fund was established in her name that has already
aceived:about $25,000, Steffke said.
This fund for Williams' daughter, which was orga-
nized bythe Office of Student Affairs, could be a way
for students to honor Williams, Steffke said.
"My friend knew Tamara," said LSA first-year stu-
dent Alfonso Rivera. "We're feeling great sympathy
for her idaughter. After growing up in inner city
Detroit,.I didn't expect violence to come here. It real-
ly shocked me."
In addition to the general fund, the Michigan
Student- Assembly has decided to support Kiera and
the family by donating a savings bond.
l"The assembly voted that we would send a condo-
Tence card to the family and invest in a $500 savings
bond toshow the support for the family and the poor

WILLIAMS
Continued from Page 1A
outside and knock on a neighbor's in-
dow for help. Williams escaped to the
backyard of her house, as neighbors
became witnesses to the brutal stab-
bing.
Realizing a murder was occurring
before their eyes, some attempted to
intervene while others actively made
many 911 calls. At least one baseball
bat was thrown at Nelson in an attempt
to stop the stabbing.
But just three hours before the melee
began, Mosely spoke to a tired but calm
Nelson, who recently returned home
after a long day at work.
"We talked for an hour, up until 9:05
p.m.," Mosely said. "He was tired,
because he had just come home from
14 hours at work. I would never have
predicted this. I just don't understand."
Mosely said the arguments lie had
witnessed between Williams and
Nelson were never violent. "Kevin was
FRIEND
Continued from Page 1A
A group of friends will place a
bouquet of maize and blue flowers on
the casket -a symbol of Williams'
love for her University.
Pennamon hopes the University
will give the LSA senior a posthu-
mous degree. That way, her 2 1/2-
year-old daughter, Kiera, will
have another memento of her
mother.
"I think that would be so wonder-
ful. Then Kiera could have that,"
Pennamon said. "She was so close to
graduating."
For Pennamon, perhaps the most
disturbing aspect of the murder is the
many unanswered questions.
"This is a mystery, a damn mys-
tery. And you keep asking 'Why?,"'
she said.
It doesn't help that she continues
to hear different versions of the story
through the media and from neigh-
bors in the Northwood apartment
complex.
Pennamon heard yesterday that as
Kevin Nelson stabbed Williams, he
screamed: "She won't have me. And
I love her" - a statement that
Pennamon believes may answer
questions about Nelson's motive.
"I believe it was about sex. We
would talk and she would say that he
wanted to do something and she
wouldn't," Pennamon said. "She said,
'He would get mad, but I would be
tired and not feel like it.'
"I don't know if maybe that came
up again," she said.

Thursday, September 25, 1997 - 5A
a1 calm person. IIc alw aysjust wanted to
talk things out,'' he said.
Onv one instance stood out in
Mosely's mind that could possibly slia,
a ditThrent side oh Nelson.
"I remeniber one time that than
Tanara told me about." Mosely said.
"One night, lamara picked Kevin up
from a night club in Detroit that Kevin' -
and I were at. Kevin isn't a mean drunk,
he just gets silly and was making me,
laugh. Tamara told me later that when
she and Kev in got home, he went from
sloppy drunk to suddenly chasing her
around the parking lot. It was just like
Dr. .Iekyl and Mr. I lyde. Ile just chased "
her around and didn't say anything: .
"No one ever knows what goes oil
after the doors are closed."
Mosely said that death was an easy
way out for Nelson, considering the
brutality of his actions.
"Kevin was my friend, but I wish he
wasn't dead, so he could suffer and
visualize what he has done," Mosely'-'
said.
'Nat
"f believit was'
about sex. f
- Tamika Pennamon.
Williams' friend
And even if the police investiga-
tion discovers a motive and comes up
with a conclusive description of the
murder, it still won't bring back the
bright student that Pennamon wishes, ..,
everyone could have known.
"I just wish that it didn't have to
come to this," she said. "And I wish'
that the people who are now so'-
interested in her would have known
her as a person, as an incredible ,
friend,"
Meanwhile, the now-eerie mes- -
sage on Williams' answering
machine will continue to ring in ,
Pennamon's ears: "Hi ... You know'
who is not able to answer the phone.
But at the beep, I know you know-","'
what to do. Have a nice day." ;'

BOHDAN DAMIAN CAP/Daily
A mother and child mourn the death of Tamara Williams at a candlelight vigil next to Williams' murder scene
Tuesday at North Campus Family housing.

little daughter that was left behind," said MSA Vice
President Olga Savic. "We wanted to show the daugh-
ter support from the students at U of M."
As the community waits for the vigil and the funer-
al, many students are trying to get their lives back on
track.
"It's still in everyone's mind, but everyone's still
doing normal things," said Chris Baumann, Williams'
neighbor. "The kids are outside playing. Because

we're so close in proximity to where it happened, it's a
reminder.
"We're trying to cope and get back to our normal
routine. It's something we'll never forget."
LSA junior Quenetee Walton said Williams' murder
has heightened her perceptions about domestic vio-
lence issues.
"It's making me more aware," Walton said. "It's
making me think about who I'll be with."

U U

Do you have questions about how LSA-SG can be a resource for you
or your student group?
Come to the
LS&A STUDENT GOVERNMENT
MASS MEETING
Tuesday, September 30 at 5:30pm in the Pendleton Room, Michigan Union.
Pizza and pop will be served.

Get Involved!
Committee positions now open:
* Academic Affairs
* Public Activities
* Student Advisory Panel
* Curriculum Committee
Pick up an application at the LSA-SG office at
4152 Michigan Union or email rrpatel@umich.edu
with questions

Need Money?
Budget allocation process beginning now

* Pick upan application at the LSA-SG office or email
Gary Zhao at ganggz@umich.edu with questions
LSA-SG is working this year to
* strengthen and increase the number of departmental
clubs
* institute midterm evaluations in place of end-term
evaluations

2-
". 7-'
ยข:

* allocate more funds to student groups
* bridge the gap between LSA students and the
administration
"As representatives of the students of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts,
LSA tudent Government will serve, lead, and advocate on behalf of the students to
improve the quality of the undergraduate experience."

IT

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