/www/templates/dept/newsletter/skeleton_campus_level2.htt The Wesleyan Connection: Campus News


President Doug Bennet speaks to members of the Wesleyan community during a memorial vigil April 18 at Olin Library. The student-organized vigil was one way Wesleyan is expressing concern to the victims of the recent Virginia Tech tragedy.
Posted 04.18.07

Update on the Tragedy at Virginia Tech

I am writing to apprise you of Wesleyan community responses to the tragedy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and to give you a sense of how Wesleyan would respond in the event of a similar catastrophic event.

At 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, the college bells at Wesleyan rang and we invited members of the community to observe a moment of silence and reflection. Students organized a memorial vigil April 18 in front of Olin Library. We will forward expressions of concern and support from members of the campus community to our colleagues at Virginia Tech.

Our deans have written to all students to remind them that support services are available through the Dean's Office and 24 hours a day through the Office of Behavioral Health for Students.

In the event such a catastrophe befell the Wesleyan community, we would provide multiple sources of information: via the Internet, voicemail, email, and personal communication. In addition to posting emergency messages on the University website and broadcasting these messages to the campus community via email, we would contact students on their personal telephones and cell phones, using a new remote system that would enable us to reach them even if all campus systems were inoperable. We also would work through the Residential Life staff to get the word out in person. The Office of Public Safety responds to any emergency situation and would immediately call in the appropriate municipal and state authorities, who would set up a command post, evacuate and secure the area, and bring to bear all resources at their disposal. Our on-call system would immediately mobilize the University's top administrators.

Wesleyan staff routinely review our preparedness procedures to ensure that we maintain the safest possible campus. A team of staff members currently is updating Wesleyan's emergency response plan in order to comprehend more recent threats, such as the possibility of a pandemic contagion, and to ensure consistency with protocols established in the National Incident Management System created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This same team recently conducted a training drill implementing our plan in conjunction with the City of Middletown police, fire, and health departments.

No amount of advance preparation can guarantee that we will prevent a tragedy. Still, we want you to be aware that Wesleyan has a solid preparedness plan and that we would activate it immediately in the event of a campus emergency.

I know you join me in sending thoughts and prayers to the people of Virginia Tech.


Douglas J. Bennet
President, Wesleyan University