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Charles University honours shooting victims

Image: VitVit [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

University staff and students gather in memory of the 14 people killed in December 2023

Charles University staff and students have gathered to honour the victims of the mass shooting that took place at the university last month, in which a gunman killed 14 people and injured over 20.

On 4 January, they took part in a silent procession from a public square to the main building of the Prague university’s faculty of arts, which is where the gunman carried out the attack before killing himself on 21 December.

The gathering was part of a month-long programme of events to create a space for the “slow regeneration” of the faculty of arts community, the university said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The university has been working to support students and staff, including by providing a crisis chat service for students to seek help from psychologists and by tightening security measures.

Joint strategy

Its management has also committed to working with the government to create a joint strategy to ensure the security of universities in the future.

The university’s endowment fund has launched a collection to support the families of victims as well as students and staff affected by the attack, which was carried out by a master’s student at the institution.

On the day of the attack, the university’s rector, Milena Králíčková, and the dean of the faculty of arts, Eva Lehečková, said in a statement that the levels of violence were “absolutely unchartered territory and shocking for our academic community”.

“In connection with the tragic events that took place at the faculty of arts of Charles University on December 21, 2023, in which lives were lost and many people were badly injured, we…express our deepest condolences to all the bereaved families who lost loved ones.

“Our thoughts are equally with those who are now fighting to survive in hospital and their families,” they added.

The main building of the faculty of the arts is set to remain closed until at least the end of January, while classes have been cancelled for those at the faculty until 12 January.