To the Mount Holyoke community:
I know I speak for all of us in expressing our shock and sadness over the horrific acts of violence and tragic loss of life that took place yesterday at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and all those affected by this incomprehensible act.
The flag is lowered in commemoration of the students and faculty who lost their lives in yesterday's violence. At noon tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18, the Abbey Chapel bell will toll to mourn and honor them. Shortly thereafter, from 12:15 to 12:45 pm, there will be a gathering to express our sympathy for the victims, families, and the Virginia Tech community in the Interfaith Sanctuary, sponsored by the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.
I know many of our students, staff members, and faculty members are deeply distraught. Some of us have ties to the Virginia Tech community, although, at this time, we know of no direct connections between our community and the victims of yesterday's violence. Please remember that counseling services are available for students, and the Employee Assistance Program is available for faculty and staff to provide additional support during this difficult time. I have also asked the staff of Residential Life to make every effort to reach out to students who may require assistance.
Additionally, a number of parents and students have questions about Mount Holyoke's preparedness to deal with potential violence. Please know that our Public Safety Department and other members of the administration work together closely to identify and plan for all serious risks to a community such as ours. The events that unfolded yesterday will inform our ongoing emergency planning and readiness.
Information and updates about efforts on our campus related to these shootings will be posted on the Gateway pages available through the College's Home Page.
Again, on behalf of our entire community, let me reiterate our sadness and our outrage at this horrendous act. We will stand together as a community and offer our support to Virginia Polytechnic Institute in its most difficult hour.
Joanne V. Creighton