To kick off spring break, my Facebook newsfeed and Instagram were both filled with fun updates and photos of friends going to Mexico, Paris or even the Bahamas. The Friday leading into my spring break, however, was not joyous.
It was the kind of day you walk around with a pit in your stomach that gets deeper while you silently feel lucky to be doing anything and everything. It was the day Cal Poly learned that a fellow student, who myself or one of my friends have probably crossed paths with and who was just finishing a difficult winter quarter with the rest of us, was found dead in the R2 parking lot.
I started out that morning selling my books back at El Corral, and as I left campus, I knew something was up. I couldn’t stop my car anywhere near the scene, but thankfully, a reporter was nearby and filled me in on the situation. It was a “hazardous material” issue, and the authorities are dealing with it, is what I was told at the time. It was just going to be a quick, informational brief on the website.
Twenty minutes later, after assigning the story and texting with a few other staff members, everyone was shaken by the news — there was a body in the car.
A hazardous materials issue turned into one of those heart-wrenching moments where everyone is at a loss for words.
From that moment on, we did our best write a fair, well-reported article that did what Mustang Daily is most qualified to do — report the students’ reactions. This is why we felt it was necessary to address the frustration of some students who weren’t allowed to get to their cars, and who police weren’t sharing information with. I’m sure every student who was upset about the wait immediately forgot those feelings once they heard what happened. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to interview more students before getting the story out. But now that we have had time to learn the ins-and-outs of the situation, we are looking into hearing other students’ reactions and following up on the suicide.
If you look back at the article, the flow of events and knowledge obtained is, I hope, clear through the bold “Update” subheads.
Every time something new unfolded, there’d be a flurry of texts and phone calls, the article was updated and the pit grew deeper in everyone’s stomach who was involved. Mustang Daily took this event very seriously and would be remiss if we didn’t report on the topic. No one wants to be the one to report on such a sad turn of events, but it is our job to report the facts, and unfortunately, this was a very serious subject that made everyone stop and feel for the young man, his family and his friends. We did our best to give timely updates about everything we learned, because we wanted to get the information to the campus community as efficiently and quickly as possible.
New information has since been released that confirmed what everyone was hoping wasn’t the case — suicide. It is unfortunate that this turn of events marked the end of winter quarter not only for Cal Poly, but for everyone who has ever known Osvaldo Ponce.
There will be a memorial service at 7 p.m. Thursday in Yosemite Hall followed by a candlelight vigil at 7:30.