My office has received numerous telephone calls and e-mails asking questions and offering suggestions on how we, as a campus, might respond to the terrible tragedy in Newtown last Friday. As we prepare to depart for the holidays and perhaps an extended period of rest and relaxation, I want to address three major areas of concern. I am happy to continue these conversations during and after the semester break.
First, many of you are looking for resources and support. As always, any SCSU student who is feeling overwhelmed and would like to speak with a counselor should contact SCSU Counseling Services at (203) 392-5475. If you are looking for resources to help you and your family manage the sorrow and distress you may be experiencing, the American Psychological Association has put together some excellent resources, available at: www.apa.org/index.aspx. In addition, for information on how to talk to small children about this type of tragedy many are turning to the wisdom of the late Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) at: www.fci.org/new-site/par-tragic-events.html.
Second, many of you are interested in helping to organize a campus-wide response and have raised important social and political issues that a national event such as this one is bound to bring to the forefront. The Dean of Students’ Office will be working with individuals and departments on campus to address these issues and to consider ways we, as a campus, might reach out to the families of the victims. In the meantime, a memorial services is scheduled for tomorrow, December 19, at 3:00 p.m. outside the Adanti Student Center Ballroom.
Finally, many of you have raised concerns regarding safety on campus. I want to assure you that the safety and security of every individual on campus is our most important concern. University Police are highly trained to respond to potential threats and emergencies and have established strong partnerships with the New Haven and Hamden Police Departments, as well as the State Police and FBI. These agencies have trained our personnel to deal with a variety of situations, including incidents that may involve an active shooter. SCSU has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan which is managed by the University Incident Management Team, comprised of University Police, administrators, faculty and staff from all segments of the campus. The plan may be accessed at: www.southernct.edu/emergencypreparedness and contains detailed instructions on what to do in a variety of emergency situations. In addition, SCSU has several methods of communication used in campus-wide emergency situations and drills, including the SCSU Alert system (text, e-mail and voice) and a siren/public address system.
During a tragic time like this, I think of the values that bind our university together. One of the most important is our compassion for one another. Many of you are grieving, especially those of you who knew the victims. This is a time to reach out to each other, talk to each other and try to help each other cope with the senselessness that too often is a part of our daily lives. Our thoughts go out to the families, friends, neighbors and all the members of the Newtown community who are so deeply wounded by this unspeakable tragedy. We pray for their comfort and well-being, as we honor and remember the victims.
Dr. Peter F. Troiano
Interim Vice President for Student and University Affairs
Southern Connecticut State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515
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