To The University Community,
As we continue to mourn the devastating loss of three beloved classmates and teammates, and as our two wounded students continue to recover, I am writing with a few updates about the days and weeks ahead.
First, classes will resume tomorrow on a normal schedule. To help our students process what has happened, and to give them an opportunity to seek support as needed, Provost Ian Baucom and I, in conjunction with the School Deans, have determined that we will not require undergraduate students to complete any graded assignments or take exams before the Thanksgiving break . We recognize that there may be unique needs for our graduate and professional schools. Faculty in these schools should look to school leadership for further instruction. We have also asked all faculty to be as flexible as possible with classes, in-person attendance, and coursework. Given the variety of classes across schools, students should contact their course instructors with any additional questions or concerns.
The University will operate on a regular academic and work schedule tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 16. Patient care services will be provided as usual. University services and facilities (e.g., dining, libraries, childcare centers) will be operating on a normal schedule—many are doing so already. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Operations Status Board. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to those employees across Grounds who have sustained critical operations during this difficult time.
The informal, silent vigil last night was a moving and powerful experience. I’m grateful to the students who helped plan and organize it. Plans are underway for a community-wide event to honor the lives of Devin, D’Sean, and Lavel. Details will follow in the days ahead.
The University is expanding support and gathering places for community members. Today, until 8 p.m., counselors are available on a walk-in basis at the IM-Rec Fitness Center, 505 Edgemont Rd. Our Office of Student Affairs has set up a resource page with up-to-date information on future opportunities for walk-ins. In addition, students may call Counseling and Psychological Services at 434-243-5150, 24 hours a day. Information about CAPS is available on the Student Health and Wellness website. They can also access TimelyCare to speak with a counselor by video or phone, at no charge, 24 hours a day.
Faculty and staff can find resources through the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program by calling 434-243-2643 or by emailing the office via the FEAP website.
As for gathering places, there are several locations open for students to gather, including Newcomb Hall Ballroom and Lounge, Gibbons House, and 1515 on the Corner. In addition, my wife, Katie, and I are opening our home—Carr’s Hill—to students every afternoon this week from 2-5pm for those who wish to come together and hang out with each other and a dog or cat, or two.
These have been extraordinarily difficult days for our community. Even in the face of our own grief, I ask that we continue to reach out and extend our support to each other and especially to those who may be struggling the most. All of us have been affected, especially those students who participated in the field trip, the family and friends of the victims, and all those who endured the anxious hours of lockdown. Last night’s vigil was a powerful reminder of the comfort and strength that connection can bring. We will need to rely upon this sense of connection and community among one another in the days and weeks ahead.
James E. Ryan
To The University Community,