Virginia Tech Tragedy

April 18, 2007



Dear Colleagues:

Our UCSB family is deeply saddened by the tragedy at Virginia Tech this week. Our hearts go out to the parents, friends, professors, colleagues, and loved ones of those who were killed or wounded. In their honor, our campus flag is lowered to half-staff through April 22.

The fact that this terrible event took place on a close-knit college campus not so different from our own brings the tragedy home to us with a painful sense of immediacy. I want you to know that we have counseling services available for those who wish to have someone to talk to: for students, through Counseling Services at 893-4411; for faculty and staff, through Human Resources at 893-3318.

I also want you to know that our campus takes very seriously the safety and well-being of our students, and all members of our campus community. A month ago, the University of California began expanding student mental health services systemwide. Our campus has a Disaster Preparedness Committee that meets regularly and is chaired by Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Donna Carpenter. We have plans in place for communicating with our UCSB community, including an emergency e-mail system that is tested periodically; the next test is scheduled for later this week. We have a police department of well-trained and highly professional sworn officers, as well as a network of student Community Service Officers, who work together to make our campus as safe a learning and living environment as possible. I know we all appreciate the work that they do on a 24/7 basis.

Of course, no matter how well prepared we are, we are not invulnerable. The Virginia Tech tragedy serves as a reminder that we must always be vigilant, and continually reassess, update, and improve our emergency response procedures. We will be sending out more information in the coming weeks with details about our communication systems, and about what you can do to obtain information and help in the event of a crisis.

I would like to thank our students who organized and participated in Monday night’s candlelight vigil, and all those across our campus who have expressed in numerous ways our sympathy and support. I have shared your sentiments with Virginia Tech President Charles Steger.

We are fortunate to be part of such a caring community here at UCSB. And this, finally, is the most important lesson we can learn from this sad tragedy: that we are a community, and that we must take care of each other, not only in the face of large catastrophes, but every day and every minute.


Henry T. Yang