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Dunn pledges support for NIU students, colleagues

Feb. 15, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn issued a statement to the University community this morning regarding yesterday's tragic events at Northern Illinois University.

Thursday, Feb. 14, at approximately 3 p.m. CT, a gunman, later identified as a former NIU student, entered a lecture hall on NIU's main campus in DeKalb and shot 21 people before turning the gun on himself. Five people were killed in addition to the shooter.

WMU students seeking counseling are encouraged to call the University Counseling and Testing Center at (269) 387-1850.

A message from President John. M. Dunn

To the WMU Community:

I know you share my horror and utter dismay over the events that occurred yesterday at Northern Illinois University. Any assault of this type is an affront to what we stand for as a community and the kind of environment we all strive to create.

For many of you, like me, this event is particularly painful. I am an alumnus of NIU and there are many on that campus I call friend. Many of you also have strong ties and are accustomed to visiting the NIU campus for athletic events and academic gatherings. Many of you hail from Chicago neighborhoods full of NIU students. Our thoughts are with NIU, its students, faculty and staff in a very personal way.

I have been in touch with NIU officials and offered our assistance in any way they think we can be of help. We are just a short drive away, and it may be that our counseling and student service personnel can help their NIU counterparts address the needs of students and employees who have been traumatized. In the coming days and weeks, we will be looking for other ways to help our sister campus. Please don't hesitate to make suggestions on this front.

Events like the one yesterday remind us how important it is to care for each other, to be alert to signs of distress in those we encounter and to be vigilant in watching for signs of danger. We may never know what caused yesterday's attack, but we can do our parts to ensure that, as a campus, we continue to place the highest value on respect, tolerance, kindness and civility.

And we can reach out to our colleagues and friends who are engulfed by grief and suffering the pain of having their sanctuary violated and the lives of bright young friends and students lost forever.

Our hearts are full of sadness and with the Northern Illinois University community.

John M. Dunn

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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