MIT Vigil Mourns Deaths

Mourners at MIT gathered for a candlelight vigil on Saturday night to share grief over the loss of two first-years with bright futures ended by tragedy.

Administrators and students delivered a string of heartfelt adresses to mark the passing of first-years Umaer Basha and Scott Krueger.

Basha died a few weeks ago when he fell asleep in his shower and drowned. Krueger died last Monday after lingering in a coma induced by alcohol poisoning the previous Friday night at a Phi Gamma Delta fraternity party.

About 200 grim-faced students attended the service, holding candles and some wearing red ribbons.

One student said she was surprised that more students did not attend. Hundreds of unused candles remained on a table in front of the speakers throughout the service.


"A lot of people don't care enough or don't want to be involved. Other people were hit so strongly they didn't want to come out," said first-year Rachael L. Leventhal, who said she took chemistry with Kruger and Basha.

Many students complained about the media circus surrounding Krueger's death.

Rather than focusing on Krueger and Umaer, students said the media has shifted attention to the issue of college binge drinking.

Kruger had consumed at least 16 drinks the night he fell into a coma. MIT is currently accessing its alcohol policy and the Interfraternity Council has temporarily banned all alcohol at fraternities.

"We cannot lose sight of the fact they they were people--that they were two individuals with ideas, goals and dreams; likes and and dislikes; idiosyncracies and values," said Pamela Mukerji, president of the Class of 2001.

Mukerji cited personifying stories about each of the men.

According to Mukerji, Umaer was so excited about biology when he came to MIT that he bought the books for three semesters of his classes in advance. Krueger was a quiet guy who rowed crew, played lacrosse and wanted to be a mechanical engineer, she said.

Murkeji also said the deaths are tragic because the students will never again be able to experience life's wonders.

"They'll never again get to appreciate how stunning Back Bay looks at night, or how beautiful the crimson, golden and orange foliage looks now that the leaves are beginning to change color," Murkerji said.

Other speakers were University President Charles Vest, Chaplain John Wuestneck and Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Students Affairs Robert M. Randolph.

In addition to the addresses, Joseph A. Cirello gave an a capella rendition of "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.