Spring stress and this week’s sobering reality

Laura Huenneke

          by Laura Huenneke, Provost

We welcome signs of spring, but late spring semester also seems to bring with it plenty of stress. Students and faculty alike are pushing to complete the academic year. Between unfinished projects and the packed calendar of academic celebrations and recognition events, many of us feel there simply aren’t enough hours in the week (or enough weeks left in the academic year).

This week, it is especially difficult to write about “normal” university happenings. The bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon were grievous interruptions of an event many of us have experienced or at least imagined. And as I write this, most of the Boston metropolitan area is on lockdown in the search for the second of two suspects in those bombings; a police officer at MIT has been killed and the many colleges and universities in the area moved swiftly to inform and protect their campus communities.

Our Flagstaff campus community, like any other, must pay attention to today’s realities and think about the unthinkable. Over this past year the university has revised its campus weapons policy and hired a new emergency management director—welcome, Marc Burdiss.

The NAU Police Department has developed a fantastic outreach program for students and employees. I’ve done my best this year to put NAUPD and other resources in front of our deans and other academic leaders, and encouraged them to share with colleagues, so that faculty and staff are better prepared to respond or to help others in our community respond to potential disruptions.

How visible have these resources been for you? How do you suggest the university best manage its responsibility to keep the campus community safe and resilient?