March 29, 2021

Dear CSU Community,

As the Public Safety Team shared with our university community, we experienced a tragedy in the University Village Apartments last Wednesday night that left a student injured and an employee (who was also a recent alum) deceased. Many others, especially their friends and families, were also deeply impacted.

We are all already reeling from other recent tragedies, including a multi-victim shooting in Atlanta and another in Boulder. And we are also grappling with COVID-related anxiety and stress after more than a year of the pandemic. We recognize the staggering burdens of emotional exhaustion, grief and pain that many students, faculty, staff and alumni in the Ram family are carrying.  We also recognize that with so much to bear, even the best-intended words may feel inadequate.

So I assure you all that our focus right now is on supporting those in our community impacted by all these recent tragedies.

And I want to say thank you. Thank you to the members of the Student Affairs team—particularly staff in Housing—who stayed onsite at University Village and attended to the needs of our students and their families as the events of last Wednesday night unfolded. The dedication and compassion of this team has been on display throughout the pandemic, but never more so than this week.

Thank you also to CSUPD and other local law enforcement professionals who responded to the emergency calls on Wednesday and spent nearly all night trying to achieve a peaceful, positive resolution to the situation. Our officers exemplified their commitment to our students and our community through their measured, thoughtful approach to a volatile scene and their focus on attempting to engage with every impacted party in a supportive way.

Thank you to the many members of the CSU community who have been working tirelessly to support their colleagues and our students even before tragedy struck our campus directly and who are working even harder now. Whether connecting individuals to support resources, providing relief to those experiencing financial or academic crises, or working with external partners to put broader support structures in place, our employees have been extraordinary during these last few weeks. I know of one staff member who came back from vacation early to help a grieving family and another—one of our CSUPD team—who went out of his way to get a displaced student’s cell phone to them so they could connect with their family.

Last week, I shared a message with all of you affirming CSU’s support for our Asian American Pacific Islander Community. What I said then is still true: we value you beyond measure, for who you are and for all that you contribute to our university family.

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Boulder, we have heard from members of our Muslim and international communities here at CSU of their concern that incidents of anti-Muslim or anti-international bias will follow this tragedy. It is critically important to say to those who identify as Muslim or as members of our international community:  we will not allow hate to win, or ignorance to be the dominant narrative. We value you deeply. Your contributions, as students, faculty, or staff members make us better. We are proud you are members of our Ram family.

One of the important ways we can support one another is reporting incidents of bias and interrupting them when it feels safe to do so.

We can also find ways to celebrate and remember those who have died, both across the country and in our own CSU community. We are working to hold our Rams Remember Rams memorial virtually this spring and encourage you to join us as we read the names of those we have lost since our last Rams Remember Rams event in April 2019, including the employee who just passed away last Wednesday.

Finally, as we learn more about what happened in Boulder and as we work to support our own community, we recognize that many people across the country are experiencing mental health challenges that may be exacerbated by COVID-related isolation, these tragedies, and other challenges.

I am proud of the breadth and scope of the mental health services that CSU offers to the members of our community, and even prouder of our active work to expand those services, specifically to provide more safe spaces for BIPoC people, Trans and non-binary people and members of our international community to seek the help and support they need.

If you or anyone you know needs support, please reach out. Students can visit and faculty and staff can visit

And I fervently wish that all of you take time to restore your spirits and take care of yourselves. Last week, Reverend Naomi Tutu spoke virtually to our community as this year’s Global Engagement Distinguished Speaker. As she told her CSU audience, when tragedy or injustice affects a part of our community, it affects us all. Our shared humanity compels to us to seek a better world for everyone.