Community College of Rhode Island

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A time for reflection and support

A message from the President, Dec. 21, 2012

Newtown, Conn.One week ago, our nation was stunned by an unimaginable tragedy. A gunman burst into an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and murdered 26 people. The principal was killed, five educators were killed and 20 children, all 6 and 7 years old, were indiscriminately killed.

Over the past week, we have attempted to make sense of what happened. Our minds reel at the thought of 20 innocent children being gunned down and we ask why. We have borne witness to this before. We have witnessed the tragic shootings at Columbine High and at Virginia Tech. More recently, we have seen deranged gunmen open fire in a movie theater in Colorado and in a shopping mall in Oregon. However, this time is different because young children were the victims and our thoughts race, in many cases, to our own children.

One week later, we are still feeling the pain of the parents and others who lost loved ones. In higher education, we feel the loss of our educational colleagues in a neighboring state. And, while we can’t help but to ask why and how this could have happened, we also realize that sometimes there are no answers. Sometimes you can’t make sense of the senseless.

Here at the community college, our professionals deal with students on a daily basis and attempt to provide the assistance they need. This isn’t just about gun laws, although that certainly needs to be discussed and addressed. This is also about a need for discussion regarding the care and understanding of mental health issues in our country. In each of these cases, signs were present that the individuals who carried out these shootings were troubled. We ask ourselves: What can be done to improve the current system and get timely help for those who need it? Rest assured, here at CCRI, we are very concerned and cognizant about the safety of our buildings and of our faculty, staff, administration and students.

On this day, please take a moment to reflect not only on this event but also on the holidays ahead. Focus on what is truly important to you and treasure what you hold dear. Reach out to those in need. Reconnect with loved ones. As the holidays approach, we are reminded that, even in the darkest of times, there is hope and good in the world.

I wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and I look forward to welcoming you back for an exciting and productive spring semester.

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Last Updated: 3/7/14