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Message regarding Connecticut tragedy

December 16, 2012

Dear members of the University community:

As all of us struggle with our shock and sadness following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I write to express sympathy to the affected families and to encourage all of the members of the UVa community to come together in a spirit of compassion and support.

Mass murder is an appalling crime; mass murder involving little children is an incomprehensible crime. The atrocity confounds us, and the destruction of these young lives breaks our hearts. Our students at UVa, especially our students from Connecticut, may feel distressed in the days and weeks ahead. Help is available through our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): If you feel profoundly saddened, perplexed, or overwhelmed, I encourage you to use these services.

In the midst of the horror in Newtown, there were heroes. Teachers and others at Sandy Hook Elementary put themselves in harm's way to protect the young children under their care. Some lost their lives in this way. We admire their courage, and we mourn their loss.

Crimes like the one that occurred in Newtown frequently prompt discussion and debate about various policy issues in the United States. The time for debate will come later; now is the time to grieve and to comfort others who are grieving.

During the holidays, we gather with our families as an expression of love and support for the people who mean the most to us in our lives. As we enter the holiday season this year, we will hold our loved ones especially close, and we will remember the families in Newtown who have suffered unspeakable loss.

Teresa A. Sullivan

President Sullivan approved distribution of this message.