Journalists are routinely asked not to write in the first person; however, this article is personal—very personal. Therefore, I am writing in first person.
The murder of Wayne State University (WSU) Law School student Tiane Brown goes straight to the heart of my soul—it does not get any more personal than this.
An Email to the WSU community from Public Safety today indicated the following:
“Late this morning, Wayne State University Police confirmed the death of a law student [Tiane Brown]. The student was found in her automobile in a vacant lot not far from the eastern edge of Detroit near the abandoned Packard plant. Evidence indicates she died of a gunshot wound.
The investigation is ongoing and Investigators are interviewing two persons of interest. Because we do not yet know where the crime occurred, and because of her relationship to Wayne State University, we are taking the precaution of publishing this alert.”
I have been an employee at WSU in the City of Detroit for twenty years. I have had my professional ups and downs. Nevertheless, my twenty years at WSU as an employee and student have been well spent.
Yet, after receiving the Email about Brown’s murder I could no longer focus on my professional tasks. I turned my chair to look out of my second story office window and I gazed without any particular focus.
I did not know her personally, but I am her in so many ways. I have three children just as Tiane Brown, and once upon a time I was a young mother going to and from WSU securing my education.
I picture her leaving school, getting in her car, and being forced to a location which held foreboding consequences. Her death has silenced a campus and bought emotions to the end of the line.
When Brown was late to pick up her children Monday evening her parents became alarmed.
I, like many others, mourn her death but I also celebrate her three years as a credible Law School student. The newly appointed President of WSU conveyed the following message:
“We are sad to inform you that the body of Tiane Brown, a promising Wayne Law student reported missing yesterday, was found today in a vacant lot on the eastern edge of Detroit near the abandoned Packard plant. Two suspects have been taken into custody. Her family has been informed and the investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death is ongoing.
Tiane's death is a devastating loss to her family, including her three children, her fellow students, and the entire campus community. She was an exceptional and active student, and our sympathies extend to her parents, children, family, and friends. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.” M. Roy Wilson, President
I cannot fathom the heartache that her family must be enduring at this time. Confidential sources indicate that Brown’s mother could be heard hollering without ceasing while the police officers told her about her daughter’s murder.
As a mother I feel her pain. I share of anger. I sense of despair. However, not being in her shoes I can only speculate at a terrifying distance about her unfathomable anguish.
Being accepted into Wayne State’s Law School is no easy task. There are entrance exams, interviews, and other hurdles to maneuver that are not for the faint at heart.
I cannot recall such a heinous incident occurring in my twenty years of employment at WSU. Brown’s life and untimely death has put my life on hold for the moment.
Words pacify for only a moment against the backdrop of such a senseless act. Nevertheless, I had to pin my words on paper for my emotions to begin some type of cathartic conciliation.
Tiane Brown would have mastered a Juris Doctorate with flying colors.