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From the President

Tragedy – and Taking a Stand

May 26, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

Today, on the anniversary of the VTA shootings, I still feel that I cannot fully absorb this most recent tragedy: that 19 children and two teachers were murdered – by an 18-year-old with a military-style rifle that he was able to purchase legally. I know you join me in the deep sadness that gun violence and mass murder are far too commonplace in the United States. There have been three devastating examples just in the past few weeks, on both sides of the country – Buffalo and Orange County – and now, in a small town in Texas. Naming these tragedies by agency or locale does not do justice to the individual stories of each victim, and the heartbreaking loss that families endure.

There is grave danger in becoming inured to these shootings, or thinking them inevitable, or ourselves powerless. There must be the political will to counter the gun lobby, to counter lies and misperception and misinformation. I urge you to read the republished opinion piece in The New York Times outlining exactly how the epidemic of gun violence can be addressed:

Gun violence has touched far too many – myself and my family included. My own father died, before I was a year old, as the result of an accidental gunshot. While his death was not murder or massacre, perhaps the public health approach and training that Nicholas Kristof refers to in the above article would have mattered.

Thank you for your care for our students and each other during an exceptionally difficult period: horrific gun violence and racial violence, sometimes grotesquely combined as in Buffalo; the pandemic; election deniers and other damaging politics; and the erosion of constitutional rights for women and voters. Always, but certainly in times like these, I am proud to be part of a college community that takes political action and social justice seriously, and knows that we can make a difference.

With appreciation,

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