A Message from Gannon University President Keith Taylor
We are hurting today.
The anguish was obvious as we gathered last night and joined in prayer, and it is palpable in the many messages being shared and our interactions across campus today.
A sudden and tragic death in our community is impossible to understand, and our grieving has only begun.
This is a time for us to come together, and to look after one another. If you need help, we are providing grief counseling and other services. If you know of someone who he needs help – or just a listening ear – reach out to them and to us. Now is no time to grieve alone.
We have been listening and searching for the best path forward. Here are a number of steps being taken to help in this moment, and in the days to come.
- We have recently added staff for counseling and are adding more to serve our community immediately. They are available to assist with grief counseling and can be reached at (814) 871-7622 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We have wonderful faculty and staff and have asked them to be as flexible and understanding as possible with student requests this week. They’ve been asked to consider delaying exams, extending time for assignments, or simply providing time for reflection. They are here for you and they are willing to work with you through the challenges you may be experiencing.
- Support spaces – safe areas where you can reflect with others and where drop-in counseling sessions will be available – have been created and are open. Beyer 304 and a room in the Recreation and Wellness Center have been set aside. See the attached document for more information.
- We’ve met with the Student Government Association about peer-to-peer services that can be offered in the days and weeks ahead. A forum with SGA was already in the works for next week. More details to follow.
- We’ve met with several groups directly impacted and are continuing to support them through this difficult loss. If you have a group interested in particular support, please do not hesitate to ask.
We also will honor our friend.
- There will be a moment of silence tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 16. Look for a special edition of the Maroon Minute tomorrow morning about how to engage in this moment of silence.
- A more formal memorial gathering is also being planned for campus that will most likely be offered next week. We are timing the service in support of and in coordination with our student’s family. We will provide more details once they have been decided.
For now, we must be focused on each other. We have heard from many of you, and the pain is real.
Some have asked why we have remained in session and the answer is simple: We believe we need to be here and continuing with our routines with the support of the faculty and staff surrounding you. Here, we begin this journey of healing together and it is where we can offer the most intentional and powerful support. We urge you to take advantage of that support and to engage fully in the activities being created to support your well-being.
A break is coming.
We are listening and adjusting. We recognize the commitment you’ve made to staying in community this semester, and that many are yearning for a break. It is deserved and it is coming.
- Effective immediately, we are changing the spring academic calendar to provide a four-day holiday at Easter. Gannon University will be closed and there will be no classes on Good Friday, April 2, or on Monday, April 5.
After a tragedy like this, it is important to stay in community – where there’s access to the resources you need now, so you can take advantage of the counselors and our safe spaces, and so you can look after your friends and they you.
But in a year filled with the stresses of a pandemic and new routines, home beckons. Though we still have concerns regarding COVID-19, a respite at Easter could be good for the soul and the hurting heart.
The past 24 hours have been hard on the entire Gannon community, and especially on our student’s family and friends. There is no simple path forward, but we are on the journey together.