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Wilberforce Presidential Seal August 28, 2023

Dear Wilberforce Family,

Today I write this letter to express my concern and frustration over the surge of gun violence plaguing America. This violence has impacted every level of society including higher education, and America’s historically Blacks Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For example, recently there have been violent outbreaks, involving firearms, on the campuses of Alabama A&M, Morgan State, and North Carolina A&T State Universities. In addition, two days ago a gunman killed three persons in a racially motivated attack at a Dollar General store. Shortly before the murders the shooter had been spotted on the campus of Edward Waters University, a small and historically Black institution about half a mile from the Dollar General.

Considering these challenges Wilberforce University is committed to providing a safe environment for its students. For this reason, the University has blocked the driveway that provides access to the campus residence halls. All persons seeking to drive to a campus residence hall will be required to enter and exit via the driveway next to the band room. Campus police will monitor this access point. Only vehicles registered to students, or employees of the University will be allowed to enter. Parents or guests seeking to visit a student will be required to register with campus police before gaining access to campus. In addition to this safeguard the University has hired additional security staff. Consequently, armed officers will monitor access into the cafeteria, residence halls, and the student union buildings. The University has also expanded camera coverage of key points across campus.

Coupled with the enhancements above, the University has developed a comprehensive plan for additional safeguards which will go into effect in early September. These changes include adding: (a) gates to all campus driveways; (b) adding card access to all classroom buildings; and (c) adding shatterproof glass to campus doorways.

However, first and foremost safety and security are everyone’s responsibility. Hence, taking precautions can make a difference. Here are some tips I urge everyone to follow: (a) Report suspicious persons, vehicles, and activities; (b) lock doors and secure belongings; (c) stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you; (d) avoid walking alone at night; and (e) be aware of all available campus safety protocols.

As President of Wilberforce University, I want to state that the University is deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of its students. Consequently, the University has put in place the enhancements mentioned above. Moreover, as the year progresses the University will continue to enhance safety during these difficult times.

Respectfully,

Vann R. Newkirk
23rd President
Wilberforce University

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