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Message about recent events

April 27, 2013

Dear TCC Community:

Like many of you, I am heartsick about two recent tragedies. I am deeply saddened by the bombings in Boston on Monday that injured more than one hundred – many grievously – and took the lives of three, including an 8-year-old boy.

On Friday, I was shaken by the shooting of two women at an off-campus center of New River Community College at a mall in Christiansburg. New River, in southwestern Virginia, is one of our partners in Virginia’s Community Colleges. And of course, on Tuesday, I reflected on the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, in which 32 students and faculty died.

My prayers go out to all affected in those communities, but, really, the senselessness of random acts of violence touches all of us. We can never understand the futility of unprovoked violence; we can only continue to believe in the goodness of the human spirit.

We live in a world where feeling completely safe is difficult, whether we’re at an athletic event, on a college campus or at any public place. I want everyone on our campuses to know this much: TCC takes the safety of its students, faculty and staff very seriously. I am comforted that we have plans, processes and people in place in the event of tragedy, and I am also hopeful we will never have to put any of them into action.

TCC, like all Virginia institutions of higher education, has a Crisis and Emergency Management Plan and a separate Continuity of Operations Plan. We work closely with our community emergency responders to conduct training, drills and exercises to ensure all TCC campuses are as secure as possible. For example, our 2012 preparations included a full-scale, four-hour exercise on the Portsmouth Campus in October. We learned from this exercise, which involved all emergency personnel in Portsmouth, and we will continue to learn from additional exercises and drills.

The news of the last few days has been horrific. But I will not let the actions of a few shake the belief I have in the goodness of others.