A false rumor that the Seton Hall women’s lacrosse team was involved in a fatal bus accident spread around campus early last week.
The accident happened on March 16 and occurred on the way to a game, killing the coach and seriously injuring three players. In reality, the incident involved the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse team from Greensburg, Pa. The accident resulted in the deaths of the head coach Kristina Quigley, her unborn child and the driver of the bus.
The fact that Seton Hall does not have a women’s lacrosse team did not stop the rumor from spreading.
“Media reports have incorrectly identified Seton Hall University students as being involved in the Seton Hill University lacrosse team bus incident,” a Seton Hall press release published the day of the accident stated. “While our students have not been affected by this accident, our thoughts and prayers are with the Seton Hill University community and all of those affected by this horrible tragedy.”
The confusion appeared to have stemmed from Associated Press reports misidentifying Seton Hill as Seton Hall. News outlets as far away as San Jose, Calif., ran the story with Seton Hall in the headlines.
Student Government Association President Joe Donato said that he posted a message of condolence for the Seton Hall lacrosse team to his Facebook page when he heard the rumor and that his inbox was quickly flooded with messages criticizing him for spreading inaccurate reports.
Even Seton Hall students who were not in New Jersey at the time of the incident caught wind of the rumor.
“My friend Raffaele came up to me and asked me what the deal with our lacrosse coach was,” junior Christopher Kosmyna said.
Kosmyna is on the men’s club lacrosse team at Seton Hall and was running a marathon in New Mexico at the time. “I told him we don’t have a women’s lacrosse team, and that it was probably Seton Hill people were talking about,” he said.
In addition to the three deaths and three serious injuries, 19 players required medical attention following the accident, according to the public information officer for Cumberland County, Pa., Megan Silverstrim.
“Who cares if it’s not Seton Hall’s lacrosse team,” Donato said, responding to the falsity of the rumor. “A person died, and we should show our support for the community no matter what school it is.”
“The Seton Hill community is deeply touched by the hundreds of emails and phone calls from alumni, college and university presidents, athletic directors and friends conveying messages of heartfelt sympathy and concern for Kristina Quigley’s family, our lacrosse players and coaches and all of our students,” Seton Hill President JoAnne Boyle said. “We extend gratitude to all for their prayers and tremendous support during this most challenging time.”
Quigley was beginning her second season as the head coach of the Seton Hill Griffins, according to the university’s website. Before taking that position, she coached at Erskine College of Due West, S.C., and Duquesne University of Pittsburgh her alma mater. She is survived by her husband Glenn, and her son, Gavin, according to the Seton Hill website.
Joseph Grogan can be reached at email@example.com.