CWU News

From the President: Promoting Justice and Safety

Dear University Community,

Yet another series of senseless acts of violence struck the moral consciousness of America this week, leaving our country — and, especially, members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community — feeling grief-stricken, unsafe, and unsure where the next random attack might occur.

The mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday night claimed 11 lives and injured nine others during the Lunar New Year celebration, one of the most celebratory days of the year for many. Another act of mass violence followed on Monday in the San Francisco Bay area, taking the lives of seven and injuring one.

Central Washington University condemns acts of violence and hatred, incidents that often target minoritized communities that instead deserve humanity, belonging, and justice. These acts of violence have a significant impact on the health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff, magnifying their sense of feeling unsafe and marginalized by others in society. We strive toward a society built on cultural appreciation, inclusion, belonging, and togetherness — committing every day to living this vision.

But for us to look forward, we must understand our past and present. Just three weeks into 2023, the United States has experienced 40 mass shootings — an unacceptable and truly horrifying statistic that marks a long history of unaddressed mass violence in our country. And early Tuesday morning, a shooter killed three people at a convenience store in Yakima, followed by another incident Tuesday afternoon in North Carolina that left three dead and one injured.

Tragedies like those in California, Washington, and North Carolina can be very difficult, and it’s important for you to know about resources and assistance available to you as members of the CWU community. If you or anyone you know needs assistance in handling these losses, please contact Student Counseling Services at (509) 963-1391. Employees should contact the Employee Assistance Program at (800) 777-4114. You can also visit the CWU Counseling Services webpage for resources on 24/7 access to mental health support.

As a university, we must lead the way in proactively creating a safer, more just place for all members of our community. We have urgent and important work to do.


A. James Wohlpart