Updated message from President Gibralter
(11/8/2011, 10 a.m.)
Over the past 48 hours, I have heard from people who have expressed encouragement, support, sorrow and dismay in response to the terrible tragedy that has affected Frostburg State University. I have also heard from individuals who are very upset and who want answers. I am reaching out because like you, I am deeply concerned and incredibly saddened by the violence that has shaken Frostburg this past weekend. I share your outrage, your alarm and your grief–?as does our entire campus community–?that something like this has happened again.
I wish I could tell you that Frostburg State University has not lost lives to violence. That our students have not jeopardized their future with rash decisions and actions. I realize that we’re all looking for something… anything… that can explain what has happened. It is natural to want to react to tragic incidents like Kortneigh McCoy’s death from a place of fear, to have a need to blame someone or something. People are understandably afraid and looking for a reason why this has happened.
Can I tell you that we will never again experience this type of tragedy? No, I cannot make that promise. Believe me, I wish with all my heart that I could. But the truth is that violence is everywhere, and like every college and university across the country, we’re actively working on providing the right resources and addressing issues in a timely, relevant and comprehensive way.
What I can promise you is that we will continue to build upon existing strategies and initiatives addressing student conduct on and off campus. We will continue to enforce policies and procedures that hold our students fully accountable for their behavior. The successful implementation of these efforts is supported by the many strong community partnerships we’ve established with local law enforcement and community leaders in our fight against binge drinking, something that is statistically linked to criminal activity and poor decisions and something for which we’ve received national recognition.
We have always encouraged our students, faculty and staff to address conflict in a sensitive, responsible way. We recently renewed our historically strong partnership with the National Coalition Building Institute, an international leader in conflict resolution. This partnership will play a critical role in strengthening our efforts in this arena. As you read this, we are in the process of organizing several forums to engage our students in discussions about how to most effectively resolve conflict and why some students find it difficult to do so in a constructive, healthy manner.
I can tell you that I have never been prouder of our students than I have been over the past couple of days, watching them support one another during this trying time. There is resilience in our campus community that will always overcome its darker moments, a sense of caring, responsibility and connection that is incredibly important not just now, but in every moment we experience together.
I can tell you that every day on this campus, I see countless examples of students who are making amazing contributions to our community, our state and our world, through their thoughtful commentary, service, scholarship, creativity and leadership. We must hold onto this truth not just now but in the days and years ahead.
We ask you to support Frostburg State University and remember why we are strong, why this tragedy will not define us and will not undermine the positive changes that are happening every day. We have many reasons to be proud. In the days ahead, we hope you will stand by us and help us move forward.
Jonathan Gibralter, President
Frostburg State University