On Friday, November 13th, the world learned of the series of vicious attacks that took place in several areas across Paris, France. In what has become an all-too familiar news item, dozens of people were the victims of terrorist activities focused upon a variety of venues and all within a window of approximately 30 minutes.
It is particularly saddening to learn that among the earliest information about those who perished in these attacks, a student at California State University, Long Beach was among them. We among CCUPCA are both friends and close colleagues with many of the CSULB 49er Family.
The member agencies of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association share in this loss. On each college campus, we know that among those we serve there are but two groups: those who are colleagues, and those who are colleagues whom we simply haven’t met yet. Students, faculty, and professional staff all come together to compose communities, and in turn, a very special larger community that is higher education. Day to day, we work together to solve challenges that often are not confined to the borders of the schools we all serve, nor the industry our institutions are part of.
When the news of a senseless and tragic act of violence occurs near our own communities, we are stunned, angered, and irreparably changed. When the news of an even more horrific sequence of events becomes known, we are all those things and also confused. Often we are confused because the distance that separates us from the images and activities that our own peers—those first responders who serve their communities around the world—cannot allow us to reach out as easily and swiftly to those who might be capable of helping us to understand what has occurred, who may be involved, and perhaps most importantly of all, why.
In addition to being public safety professionals, the individual members of CCUPCA are also fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters to all students who have the courage and passion to study abroad. Theirs is a courage to learn new methods and new theories, and the courage to meet new people and learn new ways of life. This is a courage we do not often remind ourselves of—but we should.
We should because without that courage, those who have chosen a calling in their desired field that includes travelling to new places around the globe also choose to accomplish a portion of their learning in locations that are very different, and often with known risk. We should also remember their courage because they are the ones willing to do some of the most significant work in bringing the world closer together.
As we continue to learn more of the tragedy of Paris, and while we pray for all whose lives have been inexplicably taken away and for the families who have suffered the greatest loss imaginable, we at CCUPCA also pause to pray for those who are part of the larger family we know as higher education.
Today, we are Parisians and we are also 49ers. We share in the immeasurable loss that has senselessly occurred in France and we share in the commitment to continue to serve our campus communities here to the best of our abilities and in a manner that will honor all of those who have chosen something greater through higher learning.