Students and faculty members gathered around the Peace Pole last Friday to reflect on the recent mass shooting in Oregon.
“This is something we are all concerned about,” said President Drew Matonak. “In our society it can happen anywhere. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families and those who were impacted by it.”
After Matonak’s remarks, Louis Coplin, director of student life, led those present in a moment of silence. According to Coplin, students across the nation were observing a moment of silence at the same time.
Following the moment of silence, Matonak spoke briefly with members of the Student Senate. “For our students here we want you to know that we do everything we can, proactively and reactively. So I think you can feel safe on campus, as safe as you can possibly feel. But for today we are recognizing that tragedy and the lives that were impacted. Today we are going to take a few moments to remember them and reflect,” he said.
“I am very saddened for the families, and concerned that these events are happening on a regular basis across the country,” said Alexander Popovics, vice president for enrollment management and student development. “I’m glad that Hudson Valley is a safe community and we have never had to deal with those consequences,” he said.
Popovics said that the purpose of these events is partially to establish a connection between the students and faculty. “I think it’s important for students know that we are aware of these situations, and that we care about their safety,” he said. “I wish there were more students at this event.”
Student Senate treasurer Josiah Dillon was at the event “I think it is important to acknowledge whenever tragedy strikes,” he said. “Events, even though I assume none of us were directly effected, bring a sort of closure. This event helped to put everybody at ease.”
Dillon believes that despite the small turnout, the event was a success. “This was a recent thing and I think we just wanted a small intimate thing with some members of the college and some students. I don’t think you can judge the success of an event like this by attendance.”
“The president said that we should all feel safe, and I certainly do,” said Dillon. “I think this event helped the students feel a little more secure on their campus.”