Incidents of violence at Universities of Idaho and Virginia

by Richard Plumb, PhD, President | November 21, 2022

Dear Saint Mary’s community,

Our colleagues and counterparts at the University of Idaho and University of Virginia are grappling today with the aftermath of horrifying acts of violence. Both of these tragic incidents have resulted in the death of multiple individuals—including students.
The Saint Mary’s College community shares in the pain, sadness and outrage of yet another of these shooting tragedies that have become all too common. These latest incidents, coming as they did on or near college campuses, may especially hit home for many of us here at Saint Mary’s.
Our hearts are with the families and friends of the victims, and all of those who will be forever impacted by these acts of violence. The pain and suffering they must be experiencing is unimaginable, and we offer our sincerest condolences. 

Available resources and events

The safety of our Saint Mary’s community, as always, is our top priority. Keeping our campus safe means each of us must remain alert, and I strongly encourage everyone to download the LiveSafe app to receive the latest Campus Safety and emergency alerts from the College. If you witness any suspicious activity, you should report it to Campus Safety or use this link to report a community concern. Please also familiarize yourself with the College’s safety protocols in the event of an emergency situation.

It is important to understand and acknowledge that some students, faculty and staff here at our own college may experience heightened levels of fear, anxiety, or other emotions whenever incidents like this occur. For those who need them, please remember that we offer resources such as our Counseling & Psychological Services, the Mission & Ministry Center, and the Employment Assistance Program.

In addition to these ongoing resources, the college community is also invited to participate this week in a pair of events related to campus safety, beginning with a Campus Safety Walk. It will take place tomorrow, Nov. 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. beginning in the Faculty and Staff Dining Room (food will be served starting at 6:00 p.m.).

The walk offers an opportunity for campus community members to walk together and evaluate issues or concerns that might affect the safety of the campus, while also gaining an understanding of how our students and others utilize campus spaces both indoor and outdoors. I’m grateful for the collaboration between Associated Students, Residential Experience, Campus Safety and Facilities Services that have made this event possible. You can RSVP here for tomorrow’s Campus Safety Walk, or you can look soon for information on a second walk to take place later in the academic school year.

Also this week, Saint Mary’s and the California Highway Patrol are partnering on Wednesday to host an Active Threat Training for faculty and staff. Veteran CHP officers will be on hand to guide participants through an important discussion around how to understand and prepare for active threats, as well as strategies for minimizing their impacts. Those who would like to attend should RSVP here.

Tragic events such as those that have taken place at the University of Virginia and University of Idaho uphold none of our Lasallian core principles or our values of acceptance, respect, decency, safety, and civility. 

As we pause and once again try to process the unavoidable questions of why and how incidents like this take place, I ask that you continue to support one another and our fellow citizens—both domestically and globally—who fall victim to depraved acts of violence. 
Thank you.

Richard Plumb, Ph.D.