Office of the President

Date: April 17, 2007
To: Campus Community
From: Paul J. Zingg, President

We have all been following the horrifying news of what happened at Virginia Tech yesterday. It is a tragedy beyond measure for those families and friends who have lost loved ones in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the faculty, staff, students, and community members of Virginia Tech at this most difficult time.  We also have members of our community with connections to Virginia Tech, and we hold them in our hearts as well. Those of us who work or study in a college setting feel a kinship that spans geography; we are united in our pursuit of learning, and now are united in this time of grief.  For those who would like to talk with a counselor in the aftermath of this tragedy, our Psychological Counseling Center staff is available to help at 898-6345.

At the time I am writing this, details are just emerging about the gunman and whatever terrible motives led him to commit these heinous acts.  Sadly, preparing for similar incidents, regardless of motive, is a part of our regular emergency preparedness.  Led by University Police Chief Eric Reichel, we have staff members representing many campus offices that train and prepare for emergencies that could occur on campus.  We are also fortunate to have outstanding mutual aid relationships with city, county, and state agencies as well as other CSU campuses.  It is a fact of life today that we prepare for the worst possible events, while at the same time pray that they never take place.

No community is completely safe from such incidents, but it is possible to lessen their likelihood.  Along with the efforts of front-line staff, we all can play a role, from being aware of what is going on around us, to keeping an eye out for others who may need assistance. It’s also important to know how to reach emergency personnel in short order.  Along with dialing 911 from any phone or location, there are also blue light phones around campus that automatically dial 911 and ring directly into University Police.  Let me suggest you also put the University Police main line number – 898-5555 – into your mobile phone.  For our part, we will use phone messages, e-mail messages, Web postings, mass media, and other means to inform you of an emergency at the earliest possible time.  We will be writing to you soon with additional information about what you can do to protect yourself and those around you in the event of an emergency.  Vigilance and mutual regard are our allies in maintaining a safe and healthy community.
Particularly as we approach the end of our own academic year, many of us feel the exhaustion and pressures of this time in our calendar.  All the more reason, I would caution, to take a deep breath in our interactions with one another and to find both solace and strength in the beauty of our campus and the goodness of our community. Just as we offer deep sympathy and solidarity to the Virginia Tech community during this difficult time, we offer consideration and support to each other.
Tonight at 7 pm in the downtown City Plaza, there will be a candlelight vigil for the victims of Virginia Tech.  Tomorrow at noon, the Trinity Bell Tower will toll for those who have been killed or wounded.  The University flag has been lowered in their memory.
Thank you, for a prayer for Virginia Tech, and an act of kindness for Chico State.