Update from President Gibralter, (11/7/2011, 7 p.m.)
To Frostburg State University students, faculty and staff, and to all those who care about this University:
Over the last couple of days since the tragedy that occurred in Frostburg that took the life of Kortneigh McCoy, I have heard from alumni, students, parents and members of our local community who have told me that they’re angry about what happened. I’m angry too. I share your outrage, your alarm and your grief that something like this has happened at Frostburg, as does our entire campus.
I’m angry because we have worked extremely hard to create a safer community both on and off campus at Frostburg State University. Despite our efforts, we have had two violent deaths in the past two years.
We have many significant partnerships and policies in place to effectively confront student conduct on and off campus. We have a University Police force that has, in my opinion, the most positive relationships with local and regional police forces that have been the envy of other universities. As many of you may know, national statistics tell us that alcohol is a primary factor in instances of criminal activity in and around colleges and universities. Frostburg State has taken a leadership role in educating students about the importance of making informed decisions about drinking and the negative consequences that can result from unwise decisions.
I don’t want this tragedy and the subsequent spotlight that is shining on FSU, however, to overshadow the good that our students do every day. Our students perform tens of thousands of hours of community service each year, they produce stellar musical, theatrical and dance performances and visual artworks, they assist our faculty in important research, and I could go on.
I have also been proud of our students in response to this terrible incident. The members of Unified Voices Under God’s Dominion on Sunday converted a regular worship service into a moving memorial for Kortneigh. The students involved in Sunday’s President’s Concert, many of whom knew Kortneigh through her membership in the University Chorale, pulled themselves together nonetheless to produce a stellar performance. And I see people pulling together to support one another. I am tremendously proud of our students, and I want everyone to know.
Likewise, I want to reinforce my call for all of us to continue to be vigilant and look out for one another as we strive to come to terms with this tragedy. Especially in the next few days and weeks, if you notice that friends or students you come into contact with are hurting and unable to cope with their grief, or if you have any kind of concerns, please take advantage of these FSU resources:
• Counseling and Psychological Services: 301-687-4234.
• Student and Educational Services: 301-687-4311
• University Police: 301-687-4222 (emergency) or 301-687-4223 (non-emergency)
We will continue to communicate with our campus and larger community. Please keep watching this space for additional updates as they become available.