NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A letter condemning the deaths of 31 people in two mass shootings this past weekend and affirming Rutgers' commitment to end gun violence was signed by two high-ranking school officials.
In a letter addressed to Rutgers colleagues, Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy and Biomedical and Health Services Chancellor Brian L. Strom also expressed their condolences to the families and communities that lost loved ones in the shootings.
Twenty-two people were killed in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. Patrick Crusius, has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond, according to news reports. Nine others were killed Sunday when Connor Betts opened fire in a popular nightlife district in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Betts was killed by authorities.
According to the letter, Rutgers is approaching the rise of mass shootings as a public health issue.
"We believe this is a public health problem that can be solved," according to the letter. "At our Center on Gun Violence Research—among the first in the country—we continue to research the causes, consequences and solutions for this type of violence, and we get closer to translating this work into clear and actionable policies and programs every day. Specifically, work is imminent at Rutgers that will explore finding answers to individual and societal determinants for involvement; consequences of gun violence; prevention; effectiveness of existing laws and policies; and efforts to promote the responsibility of safe gun ownership and use."
The letter offers a reminder that counseling services are offered for students through Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) health.rutgers.edu/medical-counseling-services/counseling/ or University Behavioral HealthCare at ubhc.rutgers.edu/swp/index.html.