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President Haenicke responds to Virginia tragedy

April 17, 2007

KALAMAZOO--In the hours immediately following yesterday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, during which 33 people were killed, Dr. Diether Haenicke, interim president of Western Michigan University, moved to reassure the WMU community.

In an e-mail message sent Monday afternoon, Haenicke also called upon all faculty and staff members to extend "prayers and support" to colleagues at "our sister institution." The full text of the president's message follows.

Dear Colleagues:

Today we all have watched in shock the horrifying news coming from Virginia Tech. While everyone in our larger community is devastated by the reports, I think that those of us who live and work on a college campus observe what has happened with a particular sense of horror. We feel with our colleagues throughout the country that the sense of safety on our campuses and our world of collegial community have been deeply violated.

    • I will review immediately all procedures that are in place at WMU for protecting our community from harm. The physical safety of our students, our faculty and our staff are always our highest concern.
    • Each one of us will assure our students that we care for their safety.
    • We will not waver in our concern to provide the highest possible level of security for all of us.

I know you will join me in reaching out to our friends and colleagues at Virginia Tech as we offer them our prayers and support while they are moving through the aftermath of this unspeakable tragedy. Our trustees are standing firmly with us as we extend our condolences to our sister institution. At moments such as these we are all one community.

Diether Haenicke
Interim President and President Emeritus
Western Michigan University

Related story
Virginia Tech book of condolences available for signing
Flags lowered as mark of respect for Virginia Tech victims

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

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