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SOU president urges support following national tragedies

Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott called upon the campus community today to support one another in the wake of hate-motivated shootings during the past week in a Pittsburgh synagogue and at a Kentucky grocery store.

“These and other acts of targeted violence leave us all feeling raw, and more reliant than ever on the supportive environment that we nurture here at SOU,” the president said.

The university’s Student Support Network will host a community gathering to remember victims of the Pittsburgh and Kentucky shootings from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Stevenson Union’s Guanajuato Room. Representatives of several programs on campus will be present to support those in need, and light refreshments will be served.

“It is our responsibility as an institution of higher education to serve, during times such as these, as a beacon of understanding, unity and inclusion,” Schott said. “We must pick each other up, build upon our shared beliefs and embrace our differences.”

Rabbi Julie Benioff of Ashland’s Temple Emek Shalom has offered to make herself available to Jewish or other SOU students and employees who want to talk about the recent tragedies. She can be reached through her office at (541) 488-2902. The Temple, at 1800 E. Main St., will also hold a healing and memorial service at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.

SOU students can visit or call the university’s Student Health and Wellness Center at (541) 552-6136 to schedule time with counselors. Assistance is also available from the Office of Student Support and Intervention at (541) 552-6223, or at Room 321 of the Stevenson Union.

All SOU employees are eligible to seek guidance from the university’s employee assistance program, Cascade Centers, by calling (800) 433-2320 or visiting the organization’s website at cascadecenters.com.

“I urge each of you to listen as your friends, colleagues and acquaintances share their thoughts,” President Schott said. “We can help each other through events such as these by showing compassion and striving to understand the feelings of those around us.”