For Immediate Release—Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Tony Hoppa

Assistant Vice President for Communications

(585) 245-5516

A Message from SUNY Geneseo President Dahl about the Tragedy at Virginia Tech

GENESEO, N.Y.—SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl has authorized University Police to fly the campus flag at half-mast from Wednesday through Sunday evening in honor of the individuals who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech tragedy.

In addition, the Sturges carillon will ring 33 times at noon Wednesday in memory of the victims.

President Dahl today sent the following message to the College community:

Yesterday’s tragic events at Virginia Tech have prompted each of us to ask the unanswerable question, “Why?” Sadly, there is no explanation to account for such horror. Today, I ask you to hold in your thoughts all those killed or wounded in Blacksburg – and the families, faculty, staff, students and community members who are burdened by grief and pain. While healing and recovery have begun, it will be a lengthy process to restore any sense of normalcy. I have instructed university police to fly the campus flag at half-mast until Sunday evening as a memorial to those who died and a sign of solidarity.

Our campus shares a common bond with Virginia Tech, in that we, too, enjoy the peace and friendliness afforded by our geography and location. Our presence in Geneseo defines our institution as do our academics and athletics, our buildings and grounds, and our students, faculty and staff. Yet, as we have learned, peace can be shattered in an instant, and I understand that raises concerns about campus security.

When tragic events like this happen, members of the senior administration analyze the information to determine what we can learn to enhance our own policies and responsive-ness. An open, inclusive environment is a hallmark of higher education, but we live in a society where violence can and does occur. It is our responsibility to be prepared.

Our efforts to provide a safe environment include a number of initiatives. These range from educational programs to raise awareness of Geneseo policies and procedures – as well as “street smart” behavior – to campus and building security features. Our student and campus life personnel and university police invest considerable time to learn the most current practices regarding campus emergency trends and training. Furthermore, our close proximity to other law enforcement agencies has allowed our university police to build effective partnerships with the Village of Geneseo Police Department, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police.

Students affected by this tragedy may speak to one of the psychologists at Counseling Services by calling 245-5716, or visiting Those who have experienced a loss will be accommodated as quickly as possible. In addition, there will be an interfaith prayer service – “A Prayer for Peace” – at the Interfaith Center tonight at 6 p.m. on Franklin Street for the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy. 

The Sturges carillon will ring 33 times at noon tomorrow, in memory of those who lost their lives at Virginia Tech. When I hear those somber tones, I can’t help but recall the words of poet John Donne, who reminds us that no one is an island and any one’s death diminishes us all. We grieve with members of the Virginia Tech family and resolve to protect and cherish community on our own campus as well.