Tragedy at Northern Illinois University

02-18-2008

The terrible news last week about the shootings on the campus of Northern Illinois University flooded many of us with the same sense of grief we felt last year at hearing of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Although we have learned through incidents like those at VT, NIU and Louisiana Technical College that university campuses are not immune from senseless acts of violence, it never prepares us for the enormous emotional impact it has on all of as individuals and as an academic community.

Our hearts go out to the students, faculty, staff, and families of everyone at NIU as they begin to heal. I sent a note to their president, Dr. John Peters, last week extending condolences from the entire MSU community. I encourage you to share your thoughts and words of comfort as well with the NIU “family” at www.legacy.com/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=000103435559, a special Web site set up just for this purpose.

It is always difficult to find words to respond to incidents such as this because we are challenged to understand what could possibly motivate someone to randomly take the lives of others. Although the shootings didn’t impact most of us directly, they impact us as members of the larger society that strives for peace in an increasingly violent world. I call upon the MSU community to join me in taking time to consider the importance of our relationships with one another and the responsibility we have as individuals and an institution to help make the world a better place.

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