FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2007
The news of Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech University has shocked and saddened our country, particularly those of us associated with the nation’s colleges and universities. As a Jesuit and Catholic university, our first thoughts are for the victims and their families. We hope and pray that those who so violently lost their lives may rest in God’s peace and that their families and friends might find some comfort during this difficult time. To join in solidarity with those victims of this tragedy, the University will offer a prayer service on Friday, April 20 at noon in the Mundelein Center auditorium. I invite all students, faculty, and staff to attend this inter-faith prayer service. For those not able to attend the prayer service, I ask you to join in a minute of quiet prayer at noon this Friday.
An incident like this calls for the review of our own preparedness policies. This morning, at a regularly-scheduled Cabinet meeting, I discussed our present emergency response plan with the University’s vice presidents. As more details about the Virginia Tech incident become available, we will learn from them and make any necessary changes to our plan. We have also made a significant investment in enhancing our Department of Campus Safety, and I am confident that this investment will continue to ensure a safe environment for all.
Since we all share in the responsibility of ensuring a safe campus, I ask that you take time to review the recommendations and programs on the Campus Safety Web site (www.luc.edu/safety). As always, please be aware of and report any unusual behavior to our Department of Campus Safety at 8-6039 or 773-508-6039. I suggest that you add this phone number to your cell phone directory.
I’d also like to draw your attention to programs that might be helpful forums for discussing the events at Virginia Tech and how they impact us at Loyola.
– The Community Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS) meeting will be held Thursday, April 19 at 5:00 p.m. in the Quinlan Life Science Auditorium (142). Campus and community leaders will be available to answer questions related to campus safety and our emergency response plan.
– The Wellness Center will be sponsoring a workshop for faculty and staff on how to recognize and respond to students in distress. The last of three sessions will be held on Wednesday, April 18 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Terry Student Center, Baumhart Hall, rooms 303-304.
Finally, University Ministry and Student Affairs have partnered to sponsor a writing campaign to send letters of support to members of the Virginia Tech community. Our University has always come together in prayer, service, and support in the face of tragedy. I am confident that our reaction to the events of April 17 in Blacksburg, Virginia will continue to reflect our commitment of standing beside the marginalized of our world.
Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.