The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

"Today, we're all Hokies"

To the University Community:

The shootings this morning at Virginia Tech have turned a seemingly normal day into one filled with grief and disbelief. For U.Va., especially on this day, Virginia Tech is family. Many of us have parents, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, and friends who study, teach, or work in Blacksburg. Many of us are Tech alumni.

Our hearts are with Virginia Tech and its many families today, and they will be so long into the future as we remember this awful day. Our thoughts and prayers belong to those who must deal tonight and in future days with a grief that must seem almost more than mind and spirit can bear. Together, we extend our sympathy, concern, and fellow feeling for lives destroyed and bodies broken today and for families and classmates and faculty members who must go on despite these losses.

In the course of this day, we have offered support and assistance as Virginia Tech may need them from us. This offer includes providing psychological support services, other medical assistance, and any other support that may be useful to Virginia Tech. We will stay in close touch with President Steger and those who must now work with him to restore the Tech community.Members of our own community will be affected directly and indirectly by the senselessness and magnitude of what has happened, perhaps more so in coming days as victims' names and attachments become known.We look forward to serving those persons as well.

However near to or far from Virginia Tech and its people each of us may be in kinship or other attachments, today's events take enormous emotional tolls, and not all of these costs are obvious immediately. Faculty members and staff members know this from prior experience. They want to help.They are themselves as mindful of human loss and grief-struck as students and their families are.Their common commitment to the University is first and foremost to our students.

Some additional information for students and their families:

Few deal easily with shock and grief in isolation.Talk together. Students, call home.Parents, call your daughters and your sons. Listen and talk to one another, and in that contact seek the beginnings of solace and comfort...

At 2 p.m. tomorrow in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech will hold its convocation.Along with student leaders and members of our Board of Visitors, I will attend to express our common respect and concern. Also at 2 p.m., the Chapel bells here on the Grounds will toll for five minutes.I urge all within the sound of the bells to pause, reflect, and each in her or his own way express sorrow for the losses that so many families are now discovering.

Again, at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, the Chapel bells will toll for five minutes as students, faculty members and staff, and I gather in the McIntire Amphitheatre in a candlelight vigil to honor the memories and lives of those killed and injured this morning and to express our support for our counterparts at Virginia Tech, for their families, and for their friends.

Caleb Euhus, a student from Lynchburg, wrote a poem today entitled "Tech Wind."He sent a copy this afternoon, and he agreed to my sharing its argument and some words from it with you.He invokes today's fierce winds to combat and assuage the horror and anger that all thoughtful women and men must feel about today's catastrophe in Blacksburg.Echoing sentiments as old as Lamentations, Mr. Euhus calls on nature itself -- the very wind -- to share this grief.The poem ends with the lines "Make haughty grass bow down its stalk/And mourn for all those killed."Mr. Euhus speaks for all of us.

-- John Casteen, University president

"It's a tragic event that not only affects the Tech student body but just the student body all across the state. They're just like us they go to classes, they talk with their professors, andthey go back to their dorms each day."

-- Raleigh Ann Banks, fourth-year College student

"We're shocked and saddened. My hearts go out to other students and colleagues. None of us can image in what the loss off community is like. It must be staggering. It was a mutual experience. I don't know what normal is. Most of us are just stunned and staggered by the experience. People are just reaching out to others and I don't think it will go away tomorrow."

-- Penny Rue, dean of students

"U.Va. and Tech have been longtime rivals, but today we're all Hokies and our thoughts and prayers go out to all our friends and colleagues there."

-- Larry Sabato, politics professor

"On behalf of the Student Council, we're deeply saddened by the events of Virginia Tech. We extend our condolences to friends and family of those affected by the incident. Student Council will do all it can to help all communities involved to mitigate through these hard times."

-- Lauren Tilton, Student Council president

"I think the thing that strikes me is here at U.Va. it makes us forget our rivalry with Virginia Tech and instead we join with them in tears and prayer


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