Dear Campus Community,
Coming so soon after the Buffalo tragedy it is startling to have yet another incident of senseless murder this week with 21 killed from a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The senseless killing of two teachers and 19 students ranging from 11 to 8 years of age is nearly incomprehensible.
SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah Stanley noted the troubling and increasing pattern stating, “Tragically, there are many across the U.S. who don’t need descriptions to understand this loss. The families of those killed in Buffalo in a racist attack not even two weeks ago, the families of those lost in the Sandy Hook shooting, the survivors of Columbine, and too many others across our country know exactly how those families in Uvalde are feeling today.”
As a parent and a president, I grieve for the victims while also recognizing the utmost importance of campus safety. This August, as we embark on a new semester, we will continue our shelter-in-place preparedness drills. These activities include use of our campus siren systems and emergency alert mass notification systems coordinated with police and first responders across our region. Among other initiatives, the ASC leadership team is also holding a tabletop exercise to ensure that we are prepared for all kinds of hazards.
By using funds from the American Rescue Plan, we continue to increase faculty and staff training in Mental Health First Aid. This summer additional staff are being trained and certified through the National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment for the college’s Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) charged to proactively assess signs of problematic behavior.
Through early identification, the BIT aims to support students, connect them with the resources they need to be successful, and prevent crises. Faculty and staff can always submit a Red Flag Report to immediately notify BIT members of a concern. Human Resources also offers support for all employees through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other initiatives. As always, if you have an emergency or face an imminent threat, please contact University Police (607) 587-3999 or 911.
For the victims and families in Uvalde and in Buffalo, we will not forget them. Locally, we must take action with specific steps that are within our control and that honor the trust our community places in us to provide a safe learning environment.
I look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and other community members back to our campuses this fall.
Steven Mauro, PhD
Alfred State College President