Brendan Santo's family launches petition to make area near Red Cedar River on MSU campus safer

Area of concern along Red Cedar River on the MSU campus
Area of concern along Red Cedar River on the MSU campus Photo credit Santo family petition on

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) – Just days after Brendan Santo’s body was recovered from the Red Cedar River on the campus of Michigan State University, his family is putting out a call to action.

Santo, 18, was last seen around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 after leaving Yakeley Hall to meet friends in another location on the MSU campus.

A months-long search ended when a dive team pulled the Rochester Hills native and Grand Valley State University student's body from the Red Cedar on Friday, thanks to the help of a private investigator. His body was pulled about a mile and a half downstream from where he was last seen.

Now Santo’s family members have started a petition, in hopes of preventing similar tragedies.

The petition on is aiming to make the areas near the Red Cedar River safer. The petition says there is a 5-6-foot opening near Yakeley Hall on Beal Street that leads to a steep drop down to the river.

There are no fences, no lighting and no signs warning of the danger in the area – which is located next to a crosswalk – according to the petition, which is asking the university to close the opening.

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The petition says the crosswalk “invites pedestrians to cross and then go left to the sidewalk over the bridge.”

“Beyond this opening is not explorable or walkable by humans or animals since it drops quickly to a steep ravine/river,” the petition says.

Area of concern near Red Cedar River
Photo credit Santo family petition on

“At night, you may not know that beyond this opening is a huge drop off down to the Red Cedar River.  MSU needs to put barriers, lighting and signage in place to prevent any further tragedies along the Red Cedar River and the ravine.”

As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, the petition had garnered more than 8,700 signatures of its goal of 10,000.