As the days have passed since this community suffered the tragic deaths of Alyssa Salazar and Evan Kullberg, many of us have been trying to make some sense out of this loss. Alyssa and Evan were two young people of great potential, much loved by their friends and admired by their teachers. But as our Student Government Association President Ian Spears said at Sunday’s memorial service, this tragedy won’t make sense tomorrow, next week, next month or ever.
As investigators continue to learn more about the entire chain of events involved in this tragedy, I hope our community can collectively examine these facts with an eye toward preventing such heartbreaking events in the future. I have pledged my support to the efforts of FSU’s student government association and those members of Alyssa’s sorority and Evan’s fraternity in working to improve safety for everyone. I encourage us to have a constructive and respectful dialogue about this topic.
In everything, there is room to improve and learn. My first priority remains the safety of our students, but I also encourage all of you to take your safety in your own hands. Dr. Jesse Ketterman sent out a message Tuesday providing a number of resources. It emphasized in particular the importance of regularly checking your smoke detectors and planning escape routes. Please take some time today to do just that, as well as to review the information in the links he provided.
Finally, we want to express our gratitude to those members of the Frostburg Police and Fire departments who risked their lives, some even suffering injury, to try to rescue Evan and Alyssa. Their deaths represent the worst nightmare to someone who has dedicated themselves to protecting lives, and these individuals should have our support.
It is never easy to move ahead following such an enormous tragedy, but we all need to do what we can to heal. Some need to grieve alone, others need to reach out to friends or to counselors. I want those who are grieving to know that we in the FSU community will be there for them.
While we face the tasks and excitement of exams, commencement, holidays and winter break in the coming days, we will do so with Evan, Alyssa and their loved ones in our thoughts.
Jonathan Gibralter, President
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532