WVU vigil moved to Mountainlair due to severe weather; support available to students, faculty and staff in wake of Orlando tragedy
Tonight’s (June 16) vigil at West Virginia University has been moved into the Mountainlair Ballrooms due to the severe weather moving through the region. Free parking is available in the Mountainlair garage.
The vigil, planned in response to the tragedy in Orlando on Sunday, will begin at 8 p.m.
“Columbine. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Orlando. Sadly, the list of senseless tragedies continues to grow,” WVU President E. Gordon Gee said. “We must fight the numbing drumbeat of violence. We must not encourage or tolerate those who beat those drums, either with words or actions. We lift up the victims of Orlando, as well as the many who have come before them. We share in the grief with which their loved ones must live. And we stand in support with all who live in fear due to the hate that affects our world. May that support fuel compassion and acceptance as we move steadily forward,” Gee continued.
David Fryson is a vice president for WVU and heads up the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion who echoed Gee’s comments. “We mourn together as a community united by justice. This attack on the LGBT community is an attack on all who believe in the freedom of America,” Fryson said.
Members of the public are invited to join those on the WVU Campus to honor the lives lost and show support for all those affected by the tragedy. Morgantown Mayor Marti Shamberger will attend and is scheduled to speak.
Additionally, students, staff and faculty are reminded of the many counseling options available through the WELLWVU Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services as well as the WVU Faculty and Staff Assistance program.
“During a time when we join our LGBTQ students, faculty and staff and celebrate our pride, we are also grieving the loss of many individuals who lost their lives or were injured during the tragedy at Pulse, an LGBTQ+ club in Orlando in the morning hours of Sunday, June 12,” said T. Anne Hawkins, interim director of the WVU LGBTQ+ Center. “We are keeping the victims, their families, and communities in our thoughts.”
“We, too, stand with them,” said Jorge Castillo, coordinator of the LGBTQ+ Center.” Any attack on the LGBTQ+ community is an attack on all of us. This attack is a reminder that we must continue advocating for and supporting all members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Hawkins, who is also clinical director of the Carruth Center, said, “This senseless violence can be distressing to those who are directly and vicariously affected, including those in the Islamic community who may also worry for their own safety. For some, experiencing these feelings and thoughts can disrupt their lives. The WELLWVU Carruth Center is available to provide support to students impacted by this tragedy.”
Counselors will be available at Thursday’s vigil. Appointments can also be made by calling 304.293.4431, or visiting during Drop-In hours Monday – Friday, 8:15 am- 4:45 pm. Support is available around the clock.
Staff and faculty members who are also affected may contact the WVU Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at 304.293.5590.
Support resources and additional information is also available at the LGBTQ+ Center by calling 304.293.9593 or emailing LGBTQ@mail.wvu.edu.
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