[Vision2020] The UI Friday Letter; Special Edition

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed May 23 05:32:43 PDT 2007

Copied and pasted below is a Special Edition of the UI Friday Letter for May
23, 2007.


University of Idaho
Office of the President
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3151
Phone: 208-885-6365
Fax: 208-885-6558

The Friday Letter
May 23, 2007

Dear Students, Employees and Friends of the University of Idaho and the City
of Moscow,

Late last Saturday night, a lone gunman with a criminal and psychiatric
record fired upon Moscow buildings and the police officers and citizens who
tried to respond - including one of our students, who came out of his
off-campus residence to help. The gunman killed himself at the end of the
rampage, but not before taking three others permanently from us, and badly
wounding still others. And so our community has been violated in a tragic
and very personal way, and the violation is compounded by the fact that the
crime played out not only on downtown and residential streets not far from
campus, but within the sanctuary of a church.

As the glare of the news media shines on Moscow, we note with sadness the
harsh reality that today grips all communities large and small, urban and
rural, business, academic and residential: we are not always safe, and we
cannot always trust those around us. Yet we must summon the will not to
waiver in our commitment to having a safe and secure community in which to
live, learn, discover, work and prosper. Indeed, Moscow is a wonderful,
welcoming and proud community. There is remarkable resolve, collectively and
individually, to reclaim our town from this and other recent, aberrant, yet
very real events.
We mourn the loss of University of Idaho alumnus, former University Night
Watch security supervisor and Moscow Police sergeant, Lee Newbill '82 - the
first Moscow police officer to lose his life in the line of duty. Lee was
well known and highly regarded by many students, faculty and staff. Official
services are set for this Friday May 25th at 1:00 p.m. in the Kibbie Dome,
which we have offered to our community for the afternoon. We also have
opened our food service and residence halls - relatively unutilized during
summer session - for the complimentary use of the law enforcement community
as they gather. And the University, along with many others in the community,
is providing counseling services to help the grieving process of those most
deeply affected. 
We express heartfelt sympathy and support for Lee's wife Becky, who also is
a member of the University of Idaho alumni family, and to Lee's three adult
children, parents, brother, three sisters, colleagues and friends. Our
thoughts and prayers go as well to those who knew and loved two other Moscow
citizens who were killed - Crystal Hamilton and Paul Bauer - and to Officer
Bill Shields, Deputy Sheriff Brannon Jordan and University of Idaho senior
Peter Husmann, who are recovering from wounds received.

I commend our multi-agency law enforcement community, city leadership,
Emergency Medical Services professionals, and physicians and staff at
Gritman Medical Center who provided vital services throughout the unfolding
and aftermath of this tragic event. 

A few final thoughts for us to consider as we move forward together from
difficult times:

First, let us retain perspective through knowledge of facts. One hard fact
of both recent cases in Moscow, and the one in Blacksburg, Virginia, is that
whenever and wherever mental illness combines with lethal weapons, we all
live at heightened risk. Alcohol also may have helped fuel the violence last
weekend. However, another fact is that historically there is a very low
incidence of violent crime within our community, which supports the
assertion of city, University and law enforcement officials - still strongly
held today - that violence of this nature is indeed an anomaly in Moscow.
Second, it is critically important that we retain our mutual bond as good,
forthright and resilient, yet sadly sometimes fragile and imperfect, humans.
We are caring people, living in a very special and close-knit community -
one in which we look out for and support each other in good times and bad. I
know that we will continue to do just that. I see it happening already, in
our outreach to those directly and indirectly affected by this week's news,
in Moscow and beyond.
My closing thought today is a recognition of the many blessings we enjoy.
Our world today is baffling, frightening, complex, maddening, bewildering,
and many corners of it are faced with horrific strife and turmoil. It also
can be an intriguing, welcoming, supportive, loving and kind world that
offers opportunities, sustenance and challenges. Strong communities in
general, and universities in particular, provide beacons of hope for a safe,
secure and prosperous, non-violent world. We must remain firm in this hope
and aspiration. 
Tim White


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Take care, Vandals.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
UI '96

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