UConn gives posthumous admission to school shooting victim
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut has sent a posthumous letter of admission to the family of a student killed in the mass shooting at a Florida high school.
UConn officials say they learned through news reports that 14-year-old Alex Schachter had dreamed of going to the university. He was one of 17 people killed Feb. 14 in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
UConn admitted the young trombone player as a music major after learning about his passion for band.
“We were touched by his love for music and for his love of UConn,” wrote Nathan Fuerst, the school’s director of undergraduate admissions, in a handwritten note of condolence that accompanied the formal letter of acceptance. “Alex will always be remembered, and for us, forever a UConn Husky.”
Spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the university hopes the gesture provides a small measure of comfort to Alex’s family and friends.
Alex’s late mother and a cousin both attended UConn, his uncle, Paul Goldberg, told the Sun Sentinel newspaper.
Alex’s father, speaking to reporters Tuesday in Tallahassee, thanked the school.
“Alex loved UConn,” he said. “He wore a UConn sweatshirt every day to school. I told him, ‘Alex, you don’t have to wear this sweatshirt. You wear it every day. You have all these other sweatshirts.’ He said, ‘Dad, I’m not taking it off.’”
The U.S. Military Academy last week posthumously admitted 15-year-old victim Peter Wang, who was a member of the Junior ROTC at Douglas High. Peter died wearing his gray ROTC shirt and was last seen holding a door open for other students, his cousins have said.
West Point rarely offers posthumous admissions. Potential candidates’ actions must exemplify the academy’s tenets of duty, honor and country.
Reitz said the posthumous admission for Alex is the second UConn has offered “in recent memory.” The other was several years ago when a student applied but died before admissions decisions had been publicly released, she said.
UConn is about 75 miles from Newtown, Connecticut, where a mass shooting in 2012 took the lives of 26 students and educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Following that tragedy, UConn raised over $1.2 million in scholarship money for the siblings and children of those killed and any students who were enrolled at the elementary school at the time of the shooting. They must pass the usual admission requirements to claim the scholarships.
Associated Press writer Brendan Farrington contributed to this report from Tallahassee, Florida.
Follow the AP’s complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here: https://apnews.com/tag/Floridaschoolshooting.