Letters to Campus Community
Virginia Tech Tragedy
April 17, 2007
To the Campus Community:
As we learn more about the awful tragedy that has befallen Virginia Polytechnic Institute, our hearts go out to those who have lost classmates, colleagues, family members and friends. A tragedy of this scope and scale is almost unthinkable, and we are just beginning to fully grasp the impact of what has occurred. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by these terrible circumstances.
Whether or not you are directly touched by these events, they bring great sorrow and stress to our own campus at a time when students are already adjusting to the increased pressures of exams. Many in our University may be feeling vulnerable as more information comes out about the shootings and the events that led up to the tragedy. It is important that we share a sense of community and offer one another the maximum amount of support and tolerance.
I want to remind our students, faculty and staff that resources are available to assist you with any feelings of distress:
- Students may contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 764-8312.
- If you live in campus housing and you need to talk to someone, you may also reach out to a student staff member.
- Faculty and staff may contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP) at 936-8660.
Any community member who has a question or concern about the wellbeing of a U-M student may contact CAPS and speak to a counselor about how best to be helpful. More information about helping students in distress can be found on the CAPS website.
I also want to assure you that University officials and safety officers have planned in advance for a wide range of emergencies. Our public safety officers, in particular, are extensively trained and have well-established procedures in place to address any instances of violence. We hope they won’t need to use this training, but we ensure they practice regularly so they will know how to respond in the event of a disaster. We also have mutual aid agreements with regional law enforcement agencies, who would quickly assist us if additional personnel were needed.
Our Department of Public Safety officers tell us the most important thing we can do to keep ourselves safe is to be alert to our surroundings, and call police at 9-1-1 immediately if we see any behavior that seems unusual or suspicious. More safety tips can be found in the Campus Safety Handbook.
In an emergency, we would use a range of communication tools to reach our campus community including building-to-building announcements, phone callouts, e-mail, website postings, radio and other mass media, and outreach to key staff including building managers, Housing staff, etc.
You can help us to make sure these channels are effective by visiting Wolverine Access and updating your emergency contact information. It is important that we know your main phone numbers, including cell phones, in case we need to do an emergency callout. We also encourage you to identify contact information for your family members who can be reached in the event of an emergency. The City of Ann Arbor also maintains the CodeRED Emergency Telephone Calling System to notify residents within minutes of an emergency or a potential hazard. The system will call each number and will leave messages on answering machines and cell phones. For more information or to register for CodeRED, visit the Code Red website.
A safe, secure campus will always be a priority at Michigan. If any good is to come from this week’s tragedy, let it be that we learn more about how to prevent such thoughtless violence.
President Mary Sue Coleman