March 18, 2013 was the day that UCF avoided a tragedy.
James Oliver Seevakumaran, a 30-year-old former student still living on campus was found in his dorm room after his apparent suicide. Also found in the room: a tactical rifle, a pistol, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, homemade explosives and a timeline ending with “good luck and give them hell.”
Nearly a year later, the chaos in the UCF community has subsided and everything is seemingly back to the way it was, but in many ways the event has actually changed the university and the students forever.
Arabo Babakhani, roommate of Seevakumaran and senior aerospace engineering major, witnessed the incident first hand and first alerted police. According to UCF Police, they received a fire alarm call around 12:20 AM, and when he heard the alarm, Babakhami exited his room. In the process of leaving his room, Babakhami says that Seevakumaran pointed a gun at him. At that point, Babakhami slammed his door closed, locked it, then barricaded himself in the bathroom until police arrived.
Many people were effected by this incident, and according to a representative from UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services, over 2,000 students contacted them following the incident. A few students in particular were greatly effected and a few were out over then edge, but the representative said that in the end everyone came out with a better physical and mental health. All of the students though, Babakhani has had one hell of a year. After the incident, he moved into his fraternity’s house on campus, but then moved off-campus to University House. He says that he is always recognized on campus and people always bring it up to him, even when he’s trying to forget about it all. Babakhani says that having to move so much has effected him mentally and has even put a strain on his finances.
I do think that as a university we should never forget what happened, and what could’ve happened, but I think we need to move on and continue improving as a community.