UNE community mourns Lewiston victims a week after deadliest mass shooting in Maine history

Lewiston vigil

Members of the University of New England community gathered on the Biddeford Campus Wednesday to honor the 18 people killed and 13 injured in the Lewiston mass shooting.

UNE freshman Trevor Seymour (they/them) organized the gathering, which saw dozens of people gather in the brisk fall wind to pay their respects a week after the deadliest shooting in Maine’s history and the deadliest in the United States in 2023.

“There’s a phrase that Mainers like to use to describe our state, and it’s that ‘Maine is a small town,” said Deanna Barry, an Area Coordinator in the Office of Housing and Residential/Commuter Life. “The six degrees of separation theory is more like three degrees in Maine. That’s why this event has impacted people across our state so deeply. It’s not just that we can see ourselves in the 18 people we lost, we (as a community) lost them.”

UNE President James Herbert also offered remarks, emphasizing that one of Maine’s best qualities is the relative safety from violent crimes. He also noted the tragic shooting has left him even more confident in the current generation of students to make a difference when it comes to combating gun violence.

“Your generation always asks ‘why,’” Herbert said. “And that will be important as you come into power and address this epidemic of mass shootings.”

UNE is offering counseling services to anyone who needs it in the wake of the shootings. They are available 24/7 and can be reached by calling 207-602-2549 and pressing 6. Students on both Portland and Biddeford campuses can call to arrange an on-site appointment by calling that same number and pressing 1.