Exactly one year ago this coming Sunday, tragedy struck our community. When Jessica Anne Moore passed away, it no doubt brought this small campus together. The University held a beautiful prayer vigil that weekend, a campus-wide moment of silence, and the University bused those who were close to Moore to Virginia for her funeral. After the vigil, I even remember administrators who I had never met before coming up to me and other Setonian editors asking how we were doing.
This was not the first tragedy Seton Hall has been through. The Boland Hall fire in 2000 was also a national news story. Likewise, the community grieved together. In memory of the students that perished in the fire, we have the bells that are heard campus-wide outside of Jubilee Hall.
Even the Seton Hall alumni that were killed during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 have been honored with a cross and garden outside the Campus Ministry entrance to North Boland.
However, there is one very tragic event in this University’s history that many people are not aware of, and there is nothing on campus commemorating the life that was lost.
On May 11, 2000 Sohayla Massachi, who had walked at graduation a day prior, was a block away from campus after leaving a summer class when she was abducted by her ex-boyfriend Christopher Honrath. According to the New York Times’ report, two teenage girls who witnessed the kidnapping ran to the front gate to report what they witnessed, saying they “saw a man dragging a screaming woman to his car with a necktie tied around her neck.” The security guard told the girls to walk down the block to the South Orange Police Station to report the incident.
The ex-boyfriend took Massachi to his apartment in Westfield, shot her in the head, and then took his own life. The authorities arrived at Honrath’s apartment just moments later after receiving calls from neighbors about a “domestic quarrel.” Massachi was rushed to the hospital and passed away two days later.
According to a very close friend of Massachi, who requested anonymity, the University allowed Alpha Phi Omega, Massachi’s co-ed fraternity, to use the Chancellor’s Suite to perform a memorial ceremony. After that there was no real mention of the incident. No prayer vigil. No moment of silence.
Over ten years after her passing, there is still nothing on campus to remember the life of Sohayla Massachi. The only students that know about her story are those who are members of Alpha Phi Omega; they keep her memory alive. Almost every other student knows nothing of the incident.
If the University does not act soon, the memory of Jessica Moore will be forgotten once the Class of 2013 gets their diplomas. Seton Hall needs to learn from their mistakes on how they handled the unfortunate passing of Massachi and honor Moore. Just because what occurred last September took place off-campus does not mean the University does not need some kind of tribute to Moore. She was a student just like the Boland fire and 9/11 victims once were. It will be a great injustice to Moore’s friends and family, and an embarrassment to the University as a whole if nothing is done to acknowledge the innocent life that was taken from this community last year.