President Alison Byerly emailed the following message to the campus community this afternoon:
Today we woke up to the news that more than fifty people were killed, and hundreds injured, in a horrific act of violence in Las Vegas. This follows a weekend of great anxiety for the people of Puerto Rico, struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which in turn followed the hurricanes that recently ravaged Texas and Florida. The earthquake in Mexico, and the plight of the Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar, are among the international traumas that have also filled the news in recent weeks.
The cumulative effect of these crises may seem particularly intense at a time when our campus community is still mourning our own loss, one that seems the culmination of an inexplicable season of such losses.
Each of us grapples with these events in our own way. Some may seek spiritual guidance. Others may look for emotional support from friends, family, or professionals. Some may participate in community service, or donate to the charities that support relief efforts connected with specific crises. Others may pursue political action in response to whatever issues, policies, or concerns trouble them in connection with these events.
While our ways of grappling with tragedy may differ, I believe that at Lafayette we are united by a common regard for the welfare of others and for the impact of our actions upon the larger community. Again and again, I have seen members of the Lafayette community reach out to support and sustain each other at difficult times.
Inevitably, each individual event in the world at large will touch some of us more deeply than others. And sadly, today’s events will likely be followed by others that may have an impact as well. I urge all of you to see this community as a resource and a source of strength. I also urge you to be attentive to the health and well being of those around you, and to support them in seeking help when they need it.
While Lafayette is a special and unique place, it is not an island that stands apart from the world. We are part of the world, with all its challenges, divisions, and tragedies. That is not something to be regretted, but something to be celebrated. Our ability to face challenges collectively during our time together here should give each of us confidence in our ability to have a positive impact on the world beyond Lafayette.
At times like this, I take comfort from being part of this caring community, and I hope that you do as well.
President Alison Byerly