Blast from the Past: What Was in The Scarlet on October 29, 1998?

Matthew Shepard Vigil, an on-campus shooting, and women’s sports updates

Julia Baldacci, Managing Editor

A number of serious events were reported on by the Scarlet staff during this week twenty years ago. The newspaper itself was a lengthy edition of 18 pages and these are some of the story highlights.

On the front page, former News Co-Editor Kate Davis reported that a Worcester man was wounded after being hit by one of the five shots fired at him and a friend from a passing car. They were walking near 30 Downing Street and Wright Hall when the crime occured. Arrests had not yet been made at the time the article was written, and it was reported to be a possibly gang-related shooting. Memos from Campus Police were distributed to students and other members of the Clark community that same morning. Nobody inside Wright Hall was hurt and the investigation was ongoing.

On October 15, over 150 students, faculty, and members of the community gathered in Red Square to hold an Interfaith Memorial Vigil for student Matthew Shepard, from the University of Wyoming. Shepard, who was beaten and left to die in an infamously vicious and homophobic murder, received national and international attention towards hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels in the United States.The Clark vigil included a candle lighting, prayer, and speakers from the Clark and Worcester communities. Clark Assistant Dean of Students at the time, Allan Brown, said that the attack “shows that we can no longer be too busy not to notice hate crimes. They are like weeds: if you wait too long they will kill. The weeds of hate are still out there.”

During the vigil, a Clark student named Joshua Duksin arrived with a video camcorder in an attempt to film it. Duksin, who hosted the “Josh Duksin Show” on the Clark Cable Network, appeared in the middle of the event after the official scheduled speakers had finished. When asked by event organizers to turn off the camera as it was distracting those present, Duksin responded by asking why, under free speech laws, he couldn’t videotape a public event. After a few minutes of an increasingly loud verbal exchange, Campus Police officers arrived and escorted Duksin away from the vigil. According to Clark Police Chief Steve Goulet, “no one was attempting to suppress free speech. It was, however, a matter of certain actions being disruptive at that time and we worked together to resolve it.” Dean of Students Denise Darrigrand commented that the situation could have been avoided if Duksin had arrived prior to the event and talked to organizers.

There was also a serious automobile accident at the corner of Main Street and Maywood Street on the Tuesday of that week. A Worcester State student was making a left turn at the lights when a car coming up on the street hit the front of the car. The student was not seriously hurt by the impact, but her friend in the passenger’s seat was taken away by an ambulance. Both cars were towed from the accident.

Lastly, women effectively dominated this issue’s sports section. The women’s soccer team won their final home victory in a stellar season, with more than two hundred supportive students at the game. The women’s field hockey team also came home from Mount Holyoke College with a 6-1 victory. This game was their last regular season game, earning them an impressive 12-5 record.