A Sad Weekend in Winston-Salem

There were a lot of good things that happened this weekend (soccer and field hockey victories, a great opening weekend at the University Theatre).  I tried to write about those today but can’t quite find the right words, given the fact that there was also some terrible news this weekend: a student at Winston-Salem State University was killed and another was injured in a shooting on the WSSU campus, about six miles away from Wake Forest.

Our hearts go out to the students, faculty, and staff at Winston-Salem State, and to the loved ones of the victims. Anyone connected to higher education has a heavy heart when a tragedy like this occurs on a college campus – probably no one more so than parents.  I’m a mom too and I get it – I worry for your kids as well as my own.  Any news of violence and college students is especially distressing.

At times like this it is probably worth talking about emergencies and how we interact with our students in those moments.  Please know the safety of our students is our highest priority, and we are committed to informing them of any situation that poses a threat to our campus. Any time there is a security event that has taken place on our campus, or if there is a credible threat to our campus community, our students would be promptly notified of the situation. There are several ways to inform students of emergencies on campus such as mass email, outdoor alert system, cable TV, text messaging and the Wake Alert website.

Regrettably, there are occasional acts of robbery, assault, or other violence in the Winston-Salem area and we do not notify students of every such act when there is no direct, credible threat to the WFU community. Instead, we alert our students in situations that might likely have a direct impact on this campus. It is imperative students pay attention to the messages we need them to see – ones that have immediate impact on campus safety.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you – and more importantly, your student – to visit the University’s emergency notification website called Wake Alert at wakealert.wfu.edu.  Another terrific resource is Wake Ready, which is about emergency preparedness:  wakeready.wfu.edu/.

I hope you will join me in offering your thoughts and prayers to Winston-Salem State University and especially to the family members, friends, and loved ones of the victims.

— by Betsy Chapman


Categories: campus life


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