May 16, 2022

Dear all,

I am writing today in the shadow of yet another horrific act of domestic terrorism, this time in the city of Buffalo, right here in New York State. As press accounts surface of the killer’s writings, it is clear that his actions were driven by virulent white supremacy, anti-Blackness and antisemitism. The tragedy is mind-numbing, and we grieve for the victims, their loved ones, and Buffalo’s Black community. Let us be particularly mindful of the terror this wreaks on Black communities and people of color everywhere.

Saturday's massacre in Buffalo is the latest high-profile mass shooting in which authorities have said the suspect was motivated by hate, including attacks at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston; the Atlanta-area spa shootings and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. A common theme runs throughout—violent extremism and hate, made lethal by gun violence. As in each of these instances, today we are left trying to make sense of the senseless, while deeply needing to care for each other and look for ways to prevent such cruelty in the future.

Please know that resources remain available to you. For students, the Counseling Service continues to offer vital support resources including individual counseling, a walk-in clinic, and other crisis resources. The Employee Assistance Program is a helpful resource for employees in search of external support.

Administrators in the Dean of the College Division will host two campus-wide gatherings for all members of the campus community today, May 16, in the ALANA Center (12 p.m.–1 p.m.) to center the experiences of people of color in our community and in Pratt House (3 p.m.–4 p.m.). All are welcome at both events. Finally, we will hold a campus vigil at the Garden to Celebrate Black Life on Tuesday, May 17th at 9:00 a.m.

As we continue to take in the details of how this came to be, let us continue to work to expose and prevent acts of white supremacy wherever we can. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones as we join together to mourn this racially motivated act of violent extremism.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604