Dear Campus Community,
I’m writing to follow up on some steps we are taking following the incident that occurred on Carlisle Street on Saturday, September 10.
I want to start by expressing the College’s support for those members of our campus who were affected by these and other events that have made them feel unsafe or unwelcome in our greater Gettysburg community. As I have underscored previously, the starting point for true membership in any community is a belief in one’s own safety and well-being. The College is committed to continuing to work with those who were most directly affected to provide support and assistance. As a reminder, resources include Counseling Services, the Office of Multicultural Engagement, Chaplain Bright, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Belonging Cristina Garcia, and Dean Ehrlich. The Center for Student Success is also available for students whose academic work is being impacted.
As I shared at the faculty meeting on September 15, my colleagues and I on the President’s Council regularly conduct after-action reviews following events of this nature to better understand what transpired and what could be improved. We have done so in connection with this incident and our response. Through that process, we were again reminded of the compassion and commitment of our College Life team, and I want to thank them for all they do for our students and community.
Separately, we heard from students and faculty alike expressing a hope that more information could have been provided more quickly, given the concerns rightly generated by the incident. While there are significant limits on what we can say and when we have reliable information to convey, we nonetheless have concluded that more frequent communication, even if limited, would have been helpful as members of the community sought to understand what was occurring. We will be adapting our processes to ensure we are considering more frequent communication that broadly informs the campus community of confirmed facts that we are legally permitted to share. In this context, we also recognize the importance of ensuring that faculty and staff who have been asked to help respond to a community concern are properly oriented, and that will be part of our focus in the future.
We are increasing Campus Safety’s office hours and providing additional ways to contact them. Although these two items were not a direct cause of the incident, the campus community has highlighted these areas as needing improvement. Alex Wiltz, Executive Director of Campus Safety, will follow up with more specific information next week.
This incident again reminds us that the College is part of a larger community. Since her election as Mayor, I have had the opportunity to speak with Rita Frealing on several occasions about our shared desire to deepen the collaboration and partnership between the College and the Borough. Given that, I was not surprised when Mayor Frealing graciously agreed to come to campus regularly to meet with students, faculty, and staff. I am grateful for the Mayor’s commitment to the College. Once details are confirmed, the time and place of the Mayor’s visits will be posted to EngageGettysburg.
As always, if you have a question about the support the College is providing—or the actions we are taking after an incident occurs—please be in touch with the appropriate person on campus. We are better positioned to support one another if we work together and act on the best available information. Thank you in advance for your partnership on this.
Again, a special thanks to all of the individuals who have provided our students the support they have needed during this difficult time.