A Letter to the Community from President Ungar Regarding the Events at Virginia Tech

Release date: April 18, 2007

To All Members of the Goucher Community:

I know we are all still reeling from the impact of the horrifying events of April 16 at Virginia Tech. It is particularly unnerving to think that one member of an academic community might wreak such havoc and random destruction upon so many others, without any cause or explanation. Especially at a time when we are attempting to recover from our own losses during this year, we feel an acute sadness for everyone at Virginia Tech and their families — and for our country, in which such occurrences of irrational violence are all too frequent.

Our first instinct, of course, is to say that "it can't happen here," but that is obviously not good enough. I want to assure everyone that we will be reviewing Goucher's emergency action plan in order to determine whether any new precautions or contingency arrangements are necessary. We all need to believe that Goucher is as safe as we want it to be, and that anyone in distress has appropriate outlets available to discuss and deal with his or her own troubles or torments. Our sense of community on this campus is, I believe, one of our greatest strengths and protections in good times and bad, and I know we can rely upon it now.

We want to strike the appropriate balance between carrying on our daily activities and pausing to recognize the tragedies being endured by others. Any suggestions for ways that we might reassure one other and build confidence going forward will be welcome.

Our chaplain, Cynthia Terry, led a small gathering on April 17 where members of the Goucher community were able to express concern and sympathy over Virginia Tech's agony, and there will be other opportunities ahead for us to deal with these issues while ensuring our own safety and wellbeing.

Sandy Ungar