Response to Newtown, Conn., tragedy from Stetson University
Recently, as we have mourned the loss of 26 young children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, we have tried to make sense of this horrific tragedy, to find answers that do not come easily as we struggle to prevent such devastating moments from occurring ever again. Yet, as educators and parents, we must continue to discuss the issues that have arisen and seek change -- for that is what communities of higher learning do.
While we are more than 1,000 miles from Newtown, at Stetson our hearts are heavy as we recall the countless school shootings from Columbine to Virginia Tech, and now Sandy Hook. We are bound together as citizens of this world, and as such, over the coming months we will engage the greater community along with our students, faculty, staff and alumni in a dialogue about issues including mental health services, safe schools and communities, and gun violence. I encourage your participation in these important discussions.
It is through such dialogue that Stetson University can become a thought leader and voice of change not just within our own circles but also on a national level. This is critical work for us, given our underlying values that define our community: self-knowledge and growth, active intellectual exploration, and informed citizenship that lead to community engagement and social justice.
In the aftermath of this heartbreaking tragedy, I cannot help but think of our Stetson mission and our deep commitment to educating students and sustaining a culture that cares deeply about our communities and the greater world around us. Stetson is the significant partner that can champion the change we need in this world. Let us begin.
More information about the dates of these community dialogues will be forthcoming.
Wendy B. Libby, president Stetson University