The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

SLU community mourns student at prayer vigil

Attendees+left+flowers+at+the+foot+of+the+Student+Union+Theater+during+the+vigil+honoring+SLU+student+Conly+Asher+Chavers.+Nov.+30%2C+2023.+
Kennith Woods
Attendees left flowers at the foot of the Student Union Theater during the vigil honoring SLU student Conly Asher Chavers. Nov. 30, 2023.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, Southeastern community members poured into the Student Union Theater for a prayer vigil, honoring 19-year-old SLU student Conly Asher Chavers, who passed the previous day. SLU President Dr. William Wainwright and his wife, First Lady Misty Wainwright, were also in attendance. 

Attendees were given candlelights to use during the moment of silence. Some brought flowers and laid them at the foot of the stage. 

SGA President Lacey Johnson led the night’s proceedings, which began with Wainwright speaking to the audience about the resources available at SLU. He urged students to access the University Counseling Center (UCC), talk to faculty and staff and check up on loved ones. 

“I have an 18-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son. When I look at our student body, I see my children. When I walk on this campus, I want to ensure the success, safety and well-being of each one of you, but it takes all of us. I want to ask all of you to think about the person who’s not here, maybe a friend, maybe yourself, who’s not certain what they need right now. Be sure if you ever need someone, that you latch onto a close person, someone you trust,” Wainwright said.  

He said the Presidential Investiture Mass, which took place the following morning at the St. Albert Catholic Student Center, would be dedicated to Chavers.  

Wainwright commended student leaders, the University Police Department (UPD) and the UCC for supporting students during this difficult period. He closed by reminding everyone leaving for the break that resources will continue to be available. 

“For those who are going home for the holidays, know that we are a continued resource for your health and well-being. Know that as your president and your first lady, we love all of our students and faculty members. You and your well-being matter to us. The fact that you’re here tonight, inspires us to know that together, we will move forward,” he said.

Following Wainwright’s speech, 2023 Miss Southeastern Kobi Painting sang a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Afterward, senior kinesiology major J.D. McKinney led the audience in a prayer, asking for love and peace for Chavers and his family. 

Johnson then led a moment of silence. 

Kayleigh Underwood, a UCC crisis coordinator, thanked the audience for seeking out counseling and spoke about the resources available over the next few days. 

“I’m really proud of our community for utilizing the crisis services we’ve been offering and I think it’s wonderful people are working to take care of themselves…We are doing whatever our Southeastern family needs. Take care of each other and yourselves and please use us as a resource. That’s what we’re here for and we’re more than happy to do it,” Underwood said.

The UCC will continue to offer extended crisis counseling. On Monday, Dec. 4, its schedule will be cleared to have more counselors available for crisis services. Walk-ins are also available from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and an on-call UCC staffer is available all day. Additionally, students can call UPD after hours at 549-2222, which will get them connected with a crisis counselor. 

Northwestern State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe are also providing virtual services to students. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to access their services.  

Randy Rogers, a freshman mechatronics major, said he knew Chavers personally and wished he had more support when he was alive.    

“We went to elementary and high school together. This is probably the most people who have ever even thought of him at one time. It’s very sad that people only show once you’re gone,” Rogers said. 

Jayce Hill, a sophomore computer science major, said he also went to school with Chavers and commended his character.  

Hill said, “I’m torn because [Chavers] was an amazing guy. I grew up with him and I loved him to death. I just wish that I could talk to him one more time.” 

Students should contact the UCC at 985-549-3894, email [email protected] or visit their office to receive free counseling and support. 

If you are feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to, please call or text 988, the suicide and crisis hotline. All conversations are free and confidential.

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About the Contributor
Kennith Woods, News Editor
Kennith Woods is a sophomore communication major with a concentration in television and multimedia journalism and a creative writing minor. A resident of Prairieville, Kennith is The Lion’s Roar’s newly-minted news editor. His passion for progressive change within our communities is the driving factor behind his educational pursuits, as he wants to use journalism to facilitate vital information to the public and simultaneously serve as a mouthpiece for the people’s needs and concerns.
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