I wrote the Daily Deac post below on Sunday.
As most of you know by now, there was an incident on campus early Saturday morning which resulted in a student from Winston-Salem State, Najee Ali Baker, being shot; he later died from his injuries.
There are no good words at a time like this.
My heart breaks for his family, his friends, the Winston-Salem State campus, our campus, and all who knew and loved him. As a parent myself, there is no greater nightmare imaginable than the loss of a child. I myself lost a sister to an incident of gun violence, so I have some personal experience of what this does to a family. I send my heartfelt prayers for everyone.
Many of you have asked questions or sent messages to various offices in the last 48 hours. We are not ignoring those messages; they are being shared with colleagues in the proper offices. Let me touch on a couple of things I have been asked about a lot.
In terms of what information gets released, our Communications and External Relations group is working with the Winston-Salem Police Department, and the WSPD provides the information that is available to be released. I know parents and families are hungry for details, but I hope you will appreciate that we cannot say or do anything to jeopardize the investigation.
All of the information I have been given for parents and families has been posted on our Family News page: https://parents.wfu.edu/communications/family-news/. As there are additional updates or communications, they will be posted on that same page.
All weekend our staff have been focused on supporting our students’ needs and helping them process and heal. There have been increased support services available (see info here: https://parents.wfu.edu/family-news/increased-campus-support-services-weekend/) and students should continue to seek support as they need it.
I will be at an event tomorrow through Thursday. My original plan had been to pre-post some Daily Deacs for the next few days, but in light of what has happened, that no longer feels right. Instead, I hope you will take a few moments when you’d normally be reading the Daily Deac to send prayers and positive thoughts to the family, friends, and loved ones of Mr. Baker.
Edited Monday afternoon to add: this afternoon we received confirmation of the date for Family Weekend 2018; it will be September 28-30. More details will be available from the Office of Student Engagement, who plans and facilitates Family Weekend. They have asked me to pass along a survey they hope parents and families will take.
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