May 16, 2022

Dear Members of the HWS Community,

We are heading into what is one of our community’s happiest times, with senior week leading up to Commencement, but we do so in sorrow at the senseless and racially motivated shooting in Buffalo on Saturday that left 10 Black people dead and another 3 injured. There are no words adequate to express the deep condolences that I know we all feel for those who lost their lives while doing the simple act of grocery shopping or working, and for those they left behind. That this happened just 100 miles away and in a place that many among us call home is a chilling reminder that none of us are untouched by hatred and violence.

As a place of higher education, we are charged with imagining the world as it could be, and we are involved every day in working toward solutions to the problems that confront our world. But to face the challenges ahead – to create that better world – we must recognize that situations like what happened in Buffalo on Saturday, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, at the Wal-Mart in El Paso in 2019, and at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods yesterday, to name just four of the dozens of mass murders perpetrated in the name of racism, cause long-lasting harm felt far beyond the boundaries of any zip code or span of time.

So, I ask, as we stand with our neighbors in Buffalo, that you be there for one another. There are a range of emotions felt throughout our community now and for the foreseeable future. Please check in on each other and let us resolve to offer one another grace and care. I remind you that there are resources available here at the Colleges through the Counseling Center, the Office of Spiritual Engagement and the Employee Assistance Program. Please utilize those resources and others as needed and take care of yourselves and those around you.

With respect,

Joyce P. Jacobsen