Dear Bentley Community,
Yesterday was a most difficult day. Locally, we awoke to news from our neighbors at Brandeis University who were grappling with a tragic shuttle bus accident that killed one student and injured many more. As our campus communities are often intertwined in Waltham, I was in touch with the president of Brandeis, Ron Liebowitz, to offer the support and condolences of the entire Bentley community during this difficult moment. Our student affairs team and university police have also offered resources and support to our colleagues on the other side of town.
At the same time, Sunday morning’s national headlines were equally heart-wrenching. As Transgender Awareness Week came to a close, our country was once again shocked by a senseless shooting targeting an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. that killed five people.
This heinous attack, just two days after the Trans Day of Remembrance vigil in our Sacred Space in the Student Center, reminds us that violence against LGBTQ+ people in our country is on the rise. With more than 300 proposed laws across the country targeting queer and trans people, we live in a time when the dangers for LGBTQ+ people are still very real. And despite the show of support for our LGBTQ+ community members on campus last week, we are not immune from hate, as demonstrated by a recent homophobic incident on our campus that was handled by University Police.
We cannot rest on the progress that has been made in society and in our Bentley community. We must commit to addressing anti-LGBTQ+ bias now. To our LGBTQ+ community members, please know that we grieve with you. We value you. We commit to building an institution where this kind of hateful violence does not occur.
I know that some members of our community may be feeling anxious, targeted, lonely or scared right now. With the Thanksgiving break on the horizon, many of us will be heading off in different directions and away from the friends and colleagues we lean on for support. Tomorrow from 2 to 3 p.m., the Gender and Sexuality Student Lounge will be opened as a safe space for any students, faculty or staff who would like to talk or need help processing Saturday’s attack. Katie Lampley, chief diversity and inclusion officer, and Christine Lookner, associate dean of student equity and inclusion, will be present, and community members are also invited to join by Zoom.
Students who would like additional support can contact our Counseling Center by calling 781-891-2274 any time. Faculty and staff can access our Employee Assistance Program here.
While words alone cannot bring comfort to those processing this tragedy, it is important that we use our voice and come together to condemn this attack on the LGBTQ+ community. I ask that you continue to do your part by being there for one another and that you continue to make our campus a space that celebrates our differences and is welcoming to all.
Dear Bentley Community,