Early Sunday morning a gunman perpetrated the worst mass shooting in American history. I join the administration, faculty, students and staff of Vanderbilt University in condemning this terrorist act and standing in solidarity with the victims and their families and friends.
This vicious, unprecedented attack targeted members of the LGBT community on a weekend when Pride was being celebrated across our country. We share in their loss and affirm their message of inclusion and strength. The very diversity of our society is an asset, not a threat, and no religion legitimizes such an act. Community leaders such as Dr. Ossama Bahloul, Imam of the Islamic Center of Nashville, have joined voices around the world in condemning it.
Our thoughts are with Orlandoans from all walks of life who have been harmed and affected, particularly those in the LGBT, Hispanic and university communities. We must exhibit, in the words of President Obama, “the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change.”
I encourage all Vanderbilt students and staff to continue to look out for one another and for yourselves, and to take advantage of mental health support the university offers. The Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) offers triage walk-in appointments for immediate crisis every weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached at (615) 322-2571. Other forms of support can be found at https://www.vanderbilt.edu/equity-diversity-inclusion under “Resources.”