I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting upon and talking with people around campus about the events of October 1st. As you are aware, what happened that night was unprecedented and horrific, not just for our community, but for any city in the modern history of the U.S. I also understand the profound impact this event had on Las Vegas and the UNLV community, and it is clear we are all still in various stages of grieving.
While it is difficult to put into words the immense sorrow such a tragedy generates, I am so very proud of the people of Las Vegas and the members of the UNLV community for their compassion and willingness to help strangers during a traumatic and uncertain time. Out of tragedy came love, compassion, unity, and caring. Thank you to everyone who helped that night and in the days and weeks after.
As the healing process begins and after taking some time to pause and reflect, we felt it was important to discuss what happened with students, faculty, staff, and other groups, and look at ways to further enhance our processes and preparedness.
First and foremost, we recognize the importance of communication and the flow of information and have identified ways to improve outreach to our community. While information was disseminated on the UNLV website, social media, and email, some stakeholders did not see it. Therefore, we are expanding our existing notification of mobile text alerts for major events that happen near campus, not just on campus. Further, we are enhancing our email system to increase awareness among students.
We also recognize that when we sent out information indicating the decision to keep campus open on Monday — a decision shared by CCSD and our sister NSHE institutions — we could have done more to explain that, while it would be far from a normal day, we would be here to welcome those who wanted to share in a communal outpouring of grief and that regular activities would be optional. In addition, campus police checked all of our campus facilities but we could have provided additional reassurance to our internal community – especially our students in the residence halls – that campus itself was secure.
The incident also reinforced that safety training is critical, and we will continue to explore best practices and share that information with key stakeholder groups. We appreciate the recent work of CSUN for developing a new active shooter training video.
The events of October 1st on the Las Vegas Strip give us an opportunity to pause and remind ourselves about what’s important in our lives. It is in that spirit, that we are hosting a UNLV Remembrance Ceremony on Thurs., Nov. 2 at 11:30 a.m. in the Alumni Amphitheater, next to the Student Union.
The entire UNLV family is invited, and we are asking faculty who teach from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. to please join us, and/or to excuse students who attend. The event will be streamed live over the UNLV website for our satellite campuses and for others who are unable to join us in person.
In closing, I want to reiterate that each of you — students, staff, and faculty — is a precious member of the UNLV family. We were all frightened that night and many are still hurting. This is a time to listen to each other’s thoughts and fears, and to acknowledge that we can learn from tragedy. My heart goes out to each of you and to all those affected by events that awful night. As a reminder, Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to any member of the campus community.
As we moved forward, we will continue to learn and grow together to strengthen our UNLV community.