Chancellor Riley Shares Grief, Resources Following Recent Mass Shootings
The news of the recent mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, at a church in Laguna Woods, California, and at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, have left me sad, scared, and angry. Frankly, all mass shootings leave me confused, sad, and scared; however, none hit closer to home than those perpetrated in schools. I know people who work at Uvalde Independent School District, and at my former institution of higher education I helped to educate many Uvalde graduates. My heart aches for the students, their parents, and their entire community. Even without any personal connection, I would still remind you that we each have opportunities to make a difference.
- Check on people you love and hug them tight. Many people are shaken by these tragedies and need a listening ear and shoulder on which to cry.
- Listen for signs of distress which could be indicators of risk—this includes posts on social media as well as other personal or group communication.
- If you see something, say something—intervene when necessary by reporting your concerns for someone even if you are unsure whether they are truly at risk. When in doubt, call your local police or religious leader, even if the person does not reside in your community, and
- Remember that asking for help does not make you weak: It makes you strong.
Students: Your fees pay for you to use the UA-Fort Smith Student Counseling Center. Please call them at 479-788-7398 to make an appointment, or call their 24-hour emergency hotline at 800-542-1031, or 24-hour non-crisis warmline at 479-452-6655
Employees: Counseling services are generally covered under the UA System health benefits. Additionally, UA-Fort Smith has an Employee Assistance Plan through United HealthCare which is available even for employees who do not purchase UAFS insurance. The 24/7/365 phone number for the EAP is 877-660-3806.
This summer, our senior leadership team will be working with the University Police Department and local law enforcement to review and revise our emergency plans on campus with a special emphasis on campus safety, training, and increased surveillance. I appreciate Chief Ottman and the professionals in UPD who work diligently to keep us safe, and I sincerely applaud their efforts to expand campus training for students and employees.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Chief Ottman or to me.
As always, it is my great honor to serve as your chancellor.
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