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DeEbony Groves: As remembered by students, friends and faculty

When the Vision staff heard the tragic news that senior DeEbony Groves had been one of the victims killed in Sunday morning’s Waffle House shooting, we obviously knew we had to report on it. But it felt wrong to leave the story there. It felt like a tremendous disservice to a life that undeniably impacted many and was such an integral piece of the Belmont community.

We didn’t know DeEbony, so we reached out to those who knew her best. Students, faculty, friends and family.

Compiled below is just the start of an ongoing tribute to DeEbony Groves. If you’d like to contribute, please send your tributes to and they’ll be added in below.

Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger — associate professor and chair of Department of Social Work “For my part, I will say that I loved having DeEbony in classes. She was committed and passionate about social justice issues like poverty and disparities in the criminal justice system. She was not afraid to ask hard questions in class about these types of issues. DeEbony was also just fun to be around. She had vivacious laughter and a sassy kind of spirit. I saw this combo of spirit and concern with social issues in her group’s BURS presentation just last week. I cannot fathom her death and am still in disbelief as I write this. Our social work community are grieving together and we will also work to find a way to honor her spirit, and the work that was important to her, into the future.”

Julie W. Hunt — associate professor, Department of Social Work “DeEbony had a sassy and fun spirit she told it like it was. She was very hardworking, sincere and witty. Her eyes were beautiful and spoke volumes.”

Dr. Jennifer Crowell — assistant professor, Department of Social Work “I would echo Dr. Sullenberger’s comments here. She was feisty. She was very passionate about social injustices, especially those related to race, class, the criminal justice system, and devastatingly, gun control. She had an amazing, amazing laugh that I loved hearing in class. She was hard working, encouraging and generous. She was a connector. She was full of life.”

Dr. Douglas Crews — assistant professor, Department of Social Work “She was full of passion for justice and for life. She was sassy, witty, fun, and a hard-worker. Thank you for writing in honor of her life. She will be missed greatly.”

Kenisha Rhone — Delta Sigma Theta faculty adviser “Today has been a trying day for our chapter and her family. DeEbony’s light will be so terribly missed by us all. Our sorority has suffered a tremendous loss through this senseless tragedy, but we are finding comfort in knowing that we will see her again, one day. We remain grateful for her infectious laugh, quick wit, beauty and profoundly deep love that graced our lives. We continue to pray for her family, friends and all of our sorors as they process moving through life without this special daughter, sister, friend and classmate.”

Kayla Young — Black Student Association President “I’ve known DeEbony since freshman year. She was one of the only African-American students in my residence hall, Kennedy, when I was a freshman. In addition to being BSA members, we clicked early on and became friends. I used to go to her room and she would do my hair, for a couple of years. She was always so authentic, so pure and so funny. There was always love between us. When she crossed Delta a couple of years ago and then when I crossed AKA this year, there was just happiness for both of us. Her being gone is truly a loss for the Belmont community in ways that the majority of the community probably doesn’t even realize, but that I am deeply feeling as I interact with the rest of my peers and my BSA members and her sorority sisters and everybody that misses her a lot. We love you DeEbony and we miss you.”

Shania Jones — former president, Student Government Association

“I met DeEbony within the first two weeks of my freshman year. It was during the Congress application process, so I decided to go to random dorms to get signatures. Luckily, my friend Caroline was her neighbor and so I knocked on her door. I remember meeting her and her roommate. We talked for a few minutes about where we all were from and when she said Gallatin, Tennessee, I was like, ‘Yes, a local’! I remember telling her I’d be back soon when voting started. Funny thing is, I’m pretty sure I ended up going to her room once a week just to say hello. I don’t even know why honestly. I just remember sneaking into Kennedy all the time trying to roam the halls there. It totally worked! As the year went on I would see her at BSA events, and I kid you not, she was ALWAYS smiling or laughing. You know how people try to exaggerate about a person’s personality? Well not here! I would see her and she’d be like “HEEEEYY GIRL!” It was nice.

I remember we had Exercise and Stress Management class together sophomore year. This girl NEVER came to class. It was quite funny. When she did come to class, she would always drive. I think she lived in Hillside so I guess that is pretty far from the Sport Science Center. She would always be the last person to walk in the class, and before I could pack up my backpack, she’d be the first one out of there. Whenever she did stick around, she would always ask me if I wanted a ride up to Dickens. Of course I said yes. And yes, it’s true, the moment you got in the car, you could expect her to roll down the windows and blast the trap music.

This still doesn’t seem real. Imagine passing someone every Tuesday and Thursday and then not seeing them anymore. It hurts. This past Tuesday was hard because as I was walking to my last class of my undergraduate I didn’t get to stop and say, ‘ayyyyee, last class then we out,’ then walk away laughing. Instead, I walked that sidewalk silent looking around for her face.

DeEbony was a great person with a great heart. Always LIT and down to have fun. Her legacy here at Belmont will live on forever. Sort of how Adelicia’s lives on. There aren’t many people here that you can randomly knock on their door and them not be weirded out. That’s love. She had heart. Belmont will never be the same for me because I know what’s missing. I know my term as president has ended, but I am still going to do all that I can to honor her life and legacy for the whole community to see.”

Frederica Solomon — former vice president, Student Government Association “I’ve known De’Ebony since my freshman year of college. Over the past four years I have had the immense pleasure of being doubled over in belly laughs many times because of her hilarious and infectious spirit. I have shared some fond memories and she has had my back. I owe her one. I’ll always owe her one. She has been my neighbor all year and my favorite thing was running into her and catching up while sharing some scalding tea. I feel so blessed to have known her. I’ll miss you. I love you.”

— — This compilation will be updated as we receive more tributes. To contribute, please contact us at

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