Message from Dr. Mike Mullen: Response to Orlando Shooting

Dear Wolfpack Community –

As we awoke Sunday morning to news of another mass shooting on American soil, we began the grieving process, yet again, for victims of a senseless act of violence. I know that as a community, our thoughts are undoubtedly with the victims and their friends and families during this time of great loss and suffering.

This most recent act of domestic terror directly targeted members of the GLBT community, a community that in North Carolina, and around our country, has faced many challenges in recent years. This latest attack on the Orlando community, in this case a largely Hispanic GLBT community, is senseless and unexplainable. It is important that during this time, we confirm our commitment to our GLBT community, and our commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, faculty and staff at NC State.  And, given the circumstances around the shooter, our Muslim community will also be targeted by thoughtless individuals who will use this terror to target them. This person does not represent the community.  He represents hate and we must reject that hate. We are here to support our Muslim students and community members during this time of loss and sorrow.

The next several days and weeks will be difficult for many, myself included. As an administrator, and indeed as an American citizen, these events have taken an emotional toll. I ask that you help take care of each other during this time, and I pledge to do the same. It is important to note that processing through a tragedy of this magnitude does not happen overnight. And for many members of our GLBT and Muslim communities, full processing of the events in Orlando won’t happen until they are back on campus in safe spaces. Please make sure you are there to provide the support network for those students upon their return.

We are dedicated to supporting our students’ emotional and mental health. Our Counseling Center is available 24/7 and can be reached at 919.515.2423. Additionally, there will be drop in counseling services provided in the GLBT Center from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. today, Monday, June 13.

We know that the NC State GLBT Center, as well as many other units of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), have been affected by this tragedy. The Division of Academic and Student Affairs stands at the ready to provide support in any way possible. I also encourage you to reach out to other communities of support, whether it is your place of worship, campus, or community groups.

You may be asking yourself what you can do to create change, and I have thought much about this over the past day myself. I wish I had the right answer to that question, but unfortunately, I don’t. I do know that we must not become numb to these situations. Events such as these should make us feel infuriated, sad, confused, and maybe even helpless. But it is what we do with these emotions that will define us. Will we use it as an excuse to divide us further, or will we use the pain to create positive change? Will we remain silent or will we make our voices heard on these issues?  Will we be bystanders or agents of change?  I challenge all of us to embrace the beautiful diversity of people at NC State and create that positive change, change that could help avoid another senseless act of violence and hate.

With wishes of peace to the Pack,

Dr. Mike Mullen
Vice Chancellor and Dean
Division of Academic and Student Affairs

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