We write near the end of a painful and difficult week, at the halfway mark of a painful and difficult semester. We acknowledge the hurt, anger, and fear felt by our communities after the fatal shooting of our neighbor, Walter Wallace, Jr. We also recognize the impact of this tragic incident calls upon us to recognize the systemic racism that is a source of trauma within our Black communities.
This is a challenging time for every member of our community, for myriad reasons. Please know that trusted Penn resources for support and understanding are available to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students wherever you are, for whatever you may be feeling, whenever those feelings arise.
We know in the coming days and weekends, social events and community-based activism may present themselves. Please stay focused on the collective health and safety of one another, West Philadelphia, and the world beyond us:
- Many may feel called to exercise their First Amendment rights through community activism. When you do, please make a safety plan and share it with friends and family. Wear a face covering and avoid any unmasked activity.
- We strongly discourage traditional Halloween celebrations. Please follow Philadelphia’s guidelines for college students and consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Please also take care of yourselves and our neighbors before, during, and after Election Day:
- Follow the helpful advice from Penn Leads the Vote to keep Election Day virus-free.
- Log into engaging pre/post Election events virtually, from the comfort of your home.
- Watch voting returns with a small group of housemates or Zoom with friends.
- Seek out resources if you need support coping with local, national, or global news developments.
We thank all students in the area this Fall for following the Campus Compact. We applaud everyone who prioritized washing hands, wearing masks, practicing social distancing, using the daily PennOpen Pass system, and participating in weekly COVID-19 screening tests.
We realize this is a trying time, with many intersecting stressors and strain. We stand with you in partnership yearning for brighter days.
Dr. Mamta Motwani Accapadi
Vice Provost for University Life
Kelly Diaz, Annenberg Ph.D. ‘23
President, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
Dr. Benoit Dubé, M.D.
Associate Provost & Chief Wellness Officer
Mercedes Owens (C’21)
President, Undergraduate Assembly
Dr. Beth A. Winkelstein
Eduardo D. Glandt
President’s Distinguished Professor, Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science