The Santa Clara University campus is known for its lush, beautiful and well-kept grounds. But recently, it became known for something else. It became home to, even for just a few weeks, 43 silhouettes of student teachers that are missing and presumed dead. The exhibit’s slogan, “43 Students Like You” is on display through January 15 on Alviso Street outside St. Joseph’s Hall.
Along with the silhouettes are markers that tell the story of what transpired. “The story of what happened dates back to September 26, 2014, in the city of Iguala, (Mexico), uniformed police ambushed five buses of students from Rural Teachers College in Ayotzinapa and another bus carrying a professional soccer team. Together with three unidentified gunmen they shot and killed six people, wounded more than 20 and “disappeared” 43 students. One victim’s body was found in a field the next morning. His killers had cut off his face. Soldiers at the 27th Infantry Battalion army base, located less than two miles away and tasked with fighting organized crime, did not intercede …. It wasn’t until October 4, when state prosecutors announced that they had uncovered the first in a series of mass graves on the outskirts of Iguala that the national and international media descended upon the region. What occurred struck at the core of Mexican society.”
After the fanfare of the opening and placing of the silhouettes, students on campus, were somber and reflective. Most understood why the placing of the 43 silhouettes was important but many looked upon the reports of corruption as shameful. Some questioned that it could happen in the United States as well.