Hundreds gather at UMass Dartmouth to remember 2 classmates

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WLNE) — Hundreds of students, friends and families gathered outside the Claire T. Carney Library at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to remember two students who died last week.

Speakers shared their pain and offered the community a chance to come together to heal from a troubling week at the school.

Police said 19-year-old Frankie Petillo Jr. was found lying on Ring Road with serious injuries. He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he died last Thursday.

School officials said Alexandra Landry, class of 2023, also died unexpectedly, on Friday, in a separate incident.

Kimberly Scott, the vice-chancellor for student affairs, said the college would honor Petillo and another student during Monday night’s vigil.

This is a photo of a memorial made by community members, bearing the initials of the two students who recently died. (WLNE)

Petillo’s sister shared with the crowd, “My brother Frankie was one of the kindest, most funny and honest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”

She added, “Not a single day will go by without thinking of him, missing him, and just wanting to give him a big hug and tell him that I love him.”

The school’s chancellor also has requested a number of changes are done immediately, including:

  • Installing portable speed bumps to slow the traffic on the more densely populated side of Ring Road.
  • Installing portable signs that show drivers the speed at which they are traveling, until we can install permanent, speed-detecting speed limit signs around Ring Road
  • Stationing additional patrol cars at key points along Ring Road to control traffic speed through the end of this academic year. We will ticket.

UMass Dartmouth said they will be holding additional support services for staff and students following the string of tragedies.

There will be a meeting on Tuesday for students to meet with faculty and share their safety concerns about the campus roadways.

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