Letter to the Campus from President Carlos Vargas

University Community,

We were deeply saddened and troubled by the devastating news of the horrific shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We mourn the loss of the lives of so many members of the Orlando community, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims.  Southeast Missouri State University joins the rest of the country in condemning this tragic and senseless act of violence.

In the face of heartbreaking tragedy such as this, it is natural to feel speechless and helpless. As students, faculty, staff and alumni, we must look for opportunities to honor those whose lives have been lost by renewing our commitment to fostering a campus community where individuals from all backgrounds will feel welcomed, respected and included. We hold firm in our efforts to promote cultural competence and inclusion in all aspects of university life.

Our first concern is for the health and safety of our students. Counseling and Disability Services staff are available to assist our students, faculty and staff during this difficult time. Call (573) 986-6191 to request support.

I will be in the University Center South Dining Room from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 15th, to meet with anyone interested in gathering over lunch to discuss how our campus community has been affected by this event and to listen to suggestions for supporting our community. No RSVP is necessary to join this conversation.

The LGBT Resource Center, located in the University Center, Room 406, provides Safe Zone training for campus departments and student organizations during the academic year.  We urge all departments to offer this training to our employees. In light of this tragic event, additional training sessions will be offered throughout the summer. Contact Megan Murray, Coordinator for Leadership Development, at (573) 651-2280 to schedule a departmental training.

University flags are flying and will continue to fly this week at half-staff to honor the memory of those murdered or injured in Orlando on Sunday morning. It is important that during this time, we confirm our commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, faculty and staff.

Carlos