Dear members of the Virginia Tech community,

Sadness. Frustration. Fear. These are emotions we feel right now.

We learn from history and the recent tragedies in Christchurch, Pittsburgh, Orlando, and Charleston - among others - that ignorance and fear create fertile ground for hate and terror. As part of a global society, we grieve for the victims, their families and friends, and for the communities who lost lives of accomplishment, promise, love, and hope. We grieve for those in our own communities who are understandably frightened and do not feel safe, and we want you to know that we are here for you.

Principles of Community Week began Monday and continues through March 22. Our theme this year is We Affirm, which honors our commitment to affirming human dignity. I ask you to take a moment to attend an event, open up a conversation, or reflect on our shared values, and to be a part of our collective journey to do more and to do better.

In the spirit of our individual and collective commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) through InclusiveVT, I ask every member of our community to comfort those in distress and to reject hate wherever you see it.

And while bias reporting is not a solution by itself, do not hesitate to use this tool. We respond to each report. This process helps us to focus our efforts to be proactive in promoting our values that are grounded in the Principles of Community.

It is important that each one of us continues to find ways to take care of ourselves and each other. There are resources below to support this aim. Thank you for your part in advancing Virginia Tech as an inclusive and supportive community. We have come a long way, but we have a long journey ahead.

Tim Sands


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