Focusing on our safety
Posted on December 20, 2012
To the campus community,
I am certain that you share my sadness and horror at the mass shooting that took place last week at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The country continues to grieve at the tragic loss of so many innocent lives and the shocking violation of the safety and security that schools represent.
President Obama and others have observed how many horrific mass shootings have afflicted our nation in recent years. Columbine, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood--these places are all too familiar for the tragedies that have occurred in these communities.
This Friday (Dec. 21) at 9:30 a.m. the state of Connecticut will observe a moment of silence in memory of all who lost their lives in the Newtown school shootings. I encourage every member of the Wheaton community to join our neighbors and fellow citizens in pausing to reflect on this incident and send our prayers and best wishes to the families most directly affected by this tragedy.
However, we need to go beyond memorializing the victims and caring for the survivors. We also need to take action, to better recognize and treat mental illness and to establish reasonable gun control laws. Yesterday, I joined the group “College Presidents for Gun Safety,” which is calling on our elected representatives to enact rational gun safety measures. We are more than 170 strong and growing. You can learn more about this effort at http://www.collegepresidentsforgunsafety.org.
At the same time, I feel a deep responsibility to ensure that we take every step to ensure the safety and security of our Wheaton community. Toward that end, I have directed the college’s administration to conduct a thorough review of our emergency response protocols and systems. In fact, this work has already begun.
At the start of the spring semester, I expect that we will provide information to the entire campus and conduct some training to be sure that all students, staff and faculty understand Wheaton’s security protocols and would be prepared to participate in measures designed for campus safety.
Ronald A. Crutcher