June 14, 2016

Dear Students,

I want to first thank Chancellor Edwards for his message yesterday. I also wanted to share in his sentiments of condolences for the victims, survivors, families, and friends of all those impacted by the targeted violence in Orlando.  The Division of Student Affairs is heartbroken by this violence, which has had a distinct impact on our LGBTQ and Latinx communities.

Unfortunately, violence, hatred, and discrimination against the LGBTQ community frequently occurs in our society, especially against Queer and Trans People of Color.  From biased language and street harassment, to legal inequities and acts of violence, homophobia, transphobia, and racism permeate our daily lives.  This is why we implore the Rutgers community to understand that we have a collective responsibility to interrupt instances of bigotry and ignorance.  I look forward to continuing this work in the fall as we develop community values of inclusion, advance social justice education, and strive to ensure that every member of the student community is able to call our campus home.

Student Affairs is here for you. Students can contact CAPS (Counseling, ADAP, and Psychological Services) at 848-932-7884 or visit the center at 17 Senior Street in New Brunswick. In addition, the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (17 Bartlett Street, New Brunswick) and Center for Latino Arts and Culture (122 College Ave) have staff available to help you process this tragedy, in addition to being spaces to build community throughout the year.  Tonight, the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park will hold a vigil for victims and survivors of the shooting at 8 p.m. at the Reformed Church of Highland Park (19 South 2nd Street). Staff will also be in attendance.

As an institution and community, we are resilient, yet, times like these leave us shaken and test our core values. We must not fall prey to the pitting of historically underrepresented groups against one another. We must stay connected and find strength in the Rutgers community. Together, we are stronger. In the words of Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

I wish you a safe and peaceful summer.

With hope for the future and pride in Rutgers,

Dr. Felicia E. McGinty
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Rutgers University–New Brunswick