To our CU Boulder community:
Two unsettling gun-related incidents in Boulder this week have impacted our campus and generated a high level of concern among members of our community, myself included.
On Monday, a man fired gunshots from a hotel room east of campus, hitting at least one parked car before police apprehended him. Earlier today, a malicious false report of an active shooter at Boulder High School resulted in a massive law enforcement response and a "shelter in place" order, whose zone included some of our campus, while the authorities handled the emergency. Thankfully, neither incident resulted in injuries or fatalities, and I’m grateful to the campus personnel in law enforcement and other departments who assisted in the response.
Still, they come at a time when the scourge of gun violence continues to intrude into our daily lives at houses of worship, shopping centers, nightclubs and schools, including Michigan State University. Here in Boulder, our own grief and sorrow remains fresh from the supermarket mass shooting nearly two years ago and other incidents that have followed.
I want to assure you that the safety, security and well-being of everyone at CU Boulder is this university’s top priority. In the past year, in coordination with the city of Boulder, we have expanded the criteria for which we issue CU Emergency Alerts to encompass a wider off-campus area. This expansion has led to more frequent emergency notifications. In an effort to keep our CU community informed, our teams work as quickly as possible to obtain, verify and disseminate accurate information to alert and direct all of our community members during emergency incidents.
With off-campus incidents, we rely on external public safety agencies to confirm key details before we communicate them to our campus. The first alerts this week were sent minutes after we learned of the incidents. We then sent additional alerts as new information became available. CU Boulder Police Chief Doreen Jokerst today explained more about our campus alert process and common phrases used in emergencies. We will continue to refine our notification systems and use every incident as an opportunity to apply new lessons to this constantly evolving process.
I know each incident can impact individuals in disparate ways, and we may experience trauma differently at different times. With this in mind, I would like to briefly address a number of our campus communities.
To Our Students
Incidents like these can cause a range of reactions that may take away from your ability to focus on classes, research, projects and extracurricular activities. As I mentioned above, your safety, security and well-being is my top priority. As you navigate university life and your studies, please know that CU Boulder strives to provide the resources and support you need. In a community of 36,000 students and more than 10,000 faculty and staff, we want to remind you that you are never alone. This comprehensive list of resources is a useful guide to assist in maintaining your well-being here at CU. All students receive CU emergency alerts. For guidance and awareness of incidents off campus, we strongly encourage you to ensure you are signed up for emergency alerts from the city, sometimes called Everbridge, as well.
To Our Faculty and Staff
I know emergencies or other unexpected incidents add stress and distract from your workday and the academic mission. This may take a toll, professionally and personally. I encourage you to take time to care for yourself and your loved ones, and I recommend this link to a comprehensive list of our campus support resources. I also ask for your patience and empathy toward students and colleagues who may be affected by evacuation or shelter-in-place orders during these incidents, as well as those who may be personally impacted by tragedy. We never know what others are going through, and we owe them the flexibility and space to process and persevere.
As I mentioned above, our alerts process is designed to provide accurate information and direction as quickly as possible, and as a faculty or staff member, you are automatically signed up to receive them.
We know that information is critical during emergency incidents. Since these incidents are always dynamic, it is vital that faculty, staff and students follow directions in emergency alerts. Unless absolutely necessary to protect lives, improvised and uncoordinated actions can cause confusion and unintentionally put people in harm’s way. As soon as the immediate emergency or threat is diminished, further instructions and information will be provided in the most timely manner possible. As each incident is unique, I understand there are many factors at play, and I again commend you all for your patience and assistance during and after these unfortunate instances.
To Our Families
As a parent myself, and one who has seen my daughters through their college days, I know firsthand the trust you place in all who work at CU Boulder to care for your children. It is a great responsibility, and their safety, security and well-being are our priority. I know that being apart from your children―sometimes states away or farther―can add to the worry and fear you feel when emergencies occur.
As I mentioned above, our students are all automatically enrolled in the CU Alerts program, and we encourage everyone, including families, to sign up for alerts through the city and county of Boulder and to monitor alerts.colorado.edu.
If your student shares concerns with you over recent incidents, I recommend reviewing tips to support others through traumatic events and our campus support resources with them. Our best resources during these difficult times are the help and support we can offer each other.
Thank you all for your patience and flexibility as we work together to confront the unexpected challenges we face on campus, in the Boulder community and beyond. I encourage you to take care of yourselves and each other.