The following message was sent by President Eric W. Kaler and Vice President Katrice A. Albert to faculty, staff and students across the University system:
Dear friends and colleagues,
This weekend, a tragic act of senseless violence took place at a nightclub in Orlando, taking the lives of 49 victims and injuring more than 50. Our thoughts go out to the families and communities most impacted by these events, and we support Orlando in this time of mourning.
This is an especially painful occurrence, as it took place during the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride month and during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness. We are saddened by this extreme violence targeted towards LGBT communities, as well as the terrible Islamophobic responses emerging in the wake of this tragedy.
We know many of you across the University system are grieving. We are grateful to the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life on the Twin Cities campus for acting quickly to provide an initial space this afternoon to reflect on this horrible event and for sending this message earlier this morning. We will continue working with student groups, faculty, staff and administrators to respond to these and other issues that impede our commitment to modeling the kind of living, learning and working community that recognizes, confronts and eliminates acts of bias, hate and terror.
While major events like this always bring closer attention to those affected, it's important that we support communities in need every day, especially those here in Minnesota. To that end, each campus in the University system is sponsoring a food and resource drive that will benefit LGBT organizations in their communities. More information is forthcoming about drop-off locations on your campus, and we hope that you will find ways to participate that are right for you.
We are all responsible for creating the kind of campus climate where everyone feels respected every day. That means that each person in our University community must work together on behalf of our collective resilience and healing.
As always, campus resources are available to you. We encourage students to call the counseling services office, and faculty and staff to connect with the appropriate Employee Assistance Program contacts on your campuses.
Eric W. Kaler, President, and Katrice A. Albert, Vice President for Equity and Diversity