Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Editorial: In Solidarity with Potsdam

The Students of Plattsburgh stand in solidarity and remembrance of 21-year-old student cellist, Elizabeth Howell, after her untimely death, Feb. 18. 

Howell was a music education senior from Patterson, New York, set to graduate this year. She was a gifted student who performed with the SUNY Potsdam Crane Symphony Orchestra. Now, the community of Potsdam mourns her and the tragedy surrounding. 

She was fatally shot and killed in northern New York near Potsdam’s campus last Friday, on College Park Road, according to New York State Police. Howell was found by police around 5:51 p.m. and transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital. After finding her with gunshot wounds on the scene, and her arrival at the hospital, she was pronounced dead before 7 p.m., according to ABC News and a message from the SUNY Potsdam Alert system. 

“She was an aspiring educator with a bright future ahead of her,” Dr. Phil Neisser, the officer-in-charge at SUNY Potsdam, said in a written statement. “Together, we – as one united campus community – honor her life and mourn her loss.”

After police received reports of shots fired near campus, a shelter-in-place order was placed by the university at 7:19 p.m. and was later lifted the morning of Feb. 19 at 9:52 a.m. Thirty-one-year-old Micheal J. Snow was arrested that afternoon, charged with one count of second-degree murder and remanded to St. Lawrence County Jail without bail, according to police. The university sent out an alert, “Tragedy Updates,” to the campus that stated, “SUNY Potsdam can confirm that Mr. Snow has no affiliation with the College, either as a student, employee or graduate.” 

Classes at Potsdam were canceled this past Monday, as students grieved the loss of one of their own Bears. The Cardinals stand alongside Potsdam students, Howell’s family and friends, and offer our sincerest condolences during this time. 

It is important to remember that although we may have not experienced a tragedy like this in our Cardinal community recently, we must stand with those affected on all SUNY campuses. A young, talented student, who had a bright future ahead of her, had her life taken before she had the chance to accomplish even more than she has. She had a whole life ahead to look forward to. 

It is important that we support one another, keep each other safe and try our best to prevent another tragedy like this from occurring.  

For those who want to help honor her life, the Hosmer Gallery in the lobby of the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at The Crane School of Music is being utilized as a memorial space for members of the campus community. All will be welcome to leave flowers or items in her memory and to sign a memorial placard in honor of Howell. SUNY students are encouraged to support the Potsdam campus community and Howell’s family at this time.

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