Shepard sends message to campus community regarding the Orlando shooting

Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard sent the following message to the Western community Monday:

Friends and Colleagues:

As a community, we are grieving.  Sunday’s carnage is unfathomable in its evilness.  We must acknowledge, though, the underlying forces of hatred and bigotry that do persist within our society and our polity.  Certainly, we must speak out, denouncing not just such beliefs but also those who fan such divisive and despicable attitudes for personal or political advantage.  And, with mass shootings occurring with a frequency of more than one-a-month, we must aggressively exercise our responsibilities as citizens to address public policies (or lack there of) that bear upon this reprehensible aspect of “American exceptionalism.”

But, foremost, today and in the days ahead, we must positively act to take good care of each other; in particular given the most recent effort to terrorize, we must sensitively reach out to our LGBTQ colleagues to understand how we can be most helpful.  And, as a university, we must again— just as we successfully and often alone among Washington higher ed took on such things as the federal “Defense of Marriage” penalty, Liberty University’s recruiting on our campus, and the fight for marriage equality — recommit to there being one Western: a denial of the rights of any one of us is a denial affecting us all; an attack on any one of us is an attack on all of us.

And please be aware of plans now being finalized and soon to be announced for a campus vigil.