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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

After NIU shooting, Dean reaches out to Illinois students

Published: February 29, 2008
Section: Front Page

Following the Valentine’s Day shooting at Northern Illinois University, Associate Dean of Student Life Maggie Balch sent an e-mail to students from Illinois expressing sympathy and informing them of campus resources open during February break.

Similar e-mails were sent to students from Virginia following the shootings at Virginia Tech and students, according to Balch.

After the shootings at Virginia Tech, explained Balch, “I thought ‘oh my gosh, there are probably students [at Brandeis] who know students there, so we need to reach out to them.’ When NIU happened, I thought the same thing.”

Balch commented that the e-mail was “a way to let other folks know we’re concerned about you.”

“Brandeis is…run a little bit like a family…we have to put our arm around people when we feel that they’re hurting,” Balch added.

Ashley Glicken ’09 agreed. “I felt touched at the university’s consideration in the wake of the Northern Illinois tragedy,” she commented via e-mail. “It was nice to know that I go to a university that cares about the lives of their students and is willing to reach out and help in any way they can. It is for this reason that Brandeis is both a university and a family.”

Other recipients of the e-mail also appreciated the concern. “I really appreciated Maggie’s e-mail,” Ari Jadwin ’10 remarked via e-mail, “it was really nice to see the university actively [and] visibly caring, something which was definitely missing after Virginia Tech.”

Sarah Palmer ’10 agreed with Jadwin. “I thought the e-mail was a really nice gesture. Luckily I was not directly affected by the tragedy, but I felt very comforted by the e-mail and was proud to be part of a university that seems to really care,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Michael Weil ’10 wrote, “I got the e-mail and was surprised at it. I thought it was extremely thoughtful of the administration and it shows how committed they are to the needs of all students.”

“I can remember when I was a student,” Balch said, “I was fighting so much for my independence [but] every once and a while something would creep up but I don’t think that I would’ve thought to go talk to somebody in the counseling center…or an academic advisor.”

In the Office of Student Life, she added, “we care about students from a holistic perspective and we try to remind students of that…we want to remind you that you’re not out there doing this on your own.”