We at Gallaudet are local, regional, national, and global citizens. It is important for us to be informed about current events. It is equally important that the university and Clerc Center ensure our collective safety and well-being, and that we provide a place for respectful dialogue. Last week alone, we responded to local crime, the Lunar New Year mass shootings in California, and the Tyre Nichols tragedy in Tennessee. This article gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how we at Gallaudet and Clerc Center respond to such events.

Gallaudet, like all colleges and universities, is required by the federal Clery Act to report crime on campus and in adjoining neighborhoods. Department of Public Safety staff monitor local police scanners, and also receive email and text alerts which they retransmit via a Blackboard alerting system. DPS also takes whatever action is necessary to ensure community safety. For example, they may add additional patrols or close campus gates as appropriate.

The university and Clerc Center also respond as appropriate to current events. Last week, there were mass shootings during Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park, California and Half Moon Bay, California. In a letter to the university community, Dr. Elizabeth A. Moore, ’81, G-’94, & PhD ’05, wrote, “The university would like to take this moment to express our deepest sympathies and reiterate our desire to stand in unity with the members of our Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) communities, both on campus and with alumni across the country.  These were horrific, senseless acts of violence regardless of who and why they were committed.” Dr. Moore stated that support groups had been set up, and that Counseling and Psychological Services and the university’s Employee Assistance Program were available to support community members who were affected by the events in California.

Also last week, five Memphis, Tennessee police officers were indicted for second degree murder and kidnapping in the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a Black man who had been stopped for a possible traffic violation. Video footage of the traffic stop, and of the police officers’ actions toward Mr. Nichols, set off protests in Memphis and across the nation. The university’s leadership team sent a letter to the community saying that “we stand in solidarity with Mr. Nichols’ family, and with the families of all victims of police misconduct. We hope that this tragedy is a catalyst for change and restoration across the nation.” 

The university has responded to other events, such as the killing of George Floyd in 2020, the Russian invasion of Ukraine last winter, and the reversal of Roe v. Wade last summer. Oftentimes, educational programs, panels, and community dialogues take place so that our community can be well-informed, and so they can better process the events around them. This is all in line with the concept of a university as a place for authentic dialogue and airing of diverse views.

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