Former K-College professor to discuss book on murder-suicide case

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Sixteen years ago, a murder-suicide involving two Kalamazoo College students made national headlines.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, a former K-College professor will discuss her book on the incident in a presentation at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Gail Griffin, professor emerita of English, will speak at noon in the Lee Honors College lounge as part of both the Raise Your Voice speaker series and Lyceum Lecture Series, which are sponsored by the college. Her presentation is titled "Hearing Voices: Re/collecting a Femicide" and is based on research completed for her book, "The Events of October: Murder-Suicide on a Small Campus." The talk is free and open to the public.

About the book

The book was chosen as the 2015 Lee Honors College Common Read and examines an abusive relationship between two highly accomplished college students, Neenef Odah and his ex-girlfriend, Maggie Wardle. On a Sunday night during homecoming weekend in 1999, Odah lured Wardle to his dorm room and killed her at close range with a shotgun before killing himself.

Griffin retraces their relationship from multiple perspectives, including friends, teachers and classmates and presents multiple reactions in the tragedy's aftermath, as the K-College community struggled to come to grips with the incident. The book's title was borrowed from a campus memo that referred to what happened as "the events of October." In her examination, Griffin attempts to answer the lingering question of "how could this happen?"

Griffin uses the tragedy as a means of exploring larger issues of intimate partner violence, gun accessibility and depression and suicide on campus. Both the Raise Your Voice and Lyceum Lecture Series are addressing the issues of street and workplace sexual harassment, gendered violence on college campuses, the workplace, in the family, on the street and in other institutions, how best to address and eliminate it and other related issues.

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