President's Statement on Gun Violence and Message from SGSU

Written by Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
March 7, 2018

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we continue to mourn the victims of last month’s tragic shooting in Parkland, Fla., and all whose lives have been taken or changed by school shootings and gun violence, I want to share with you an open letter written by Michael Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, to President Trump and members of Congress. Seattle University and Jesuit institutions across the country join together in praying for the victims of gun violence and urging leaders in Washington, D.C. to address this national crisis.

I also encourage you to read the message included below from Student Government of Seattle University President Pa Ousman Jobe, which he sent to undergraduate students and is now being shared with the entire campus community at his request.

Seattle University stands with our students—both current and future—and students everywhere who are leading the way in demanding accountability and action from those empowered to protect our nation’s citizens from gun violence. 

Please let us all pray for peace as we insist upon and build together a more humane, compassionate and just world.

Sincerely,

Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
President


Student Government of Seattle University

Dear Campus Community,

I write to invite you all to join Student Government of Seattle University and other cultural identity groups on campus to participate in the National School Walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m. We ask that you all suspend any campus engagement and join us in the Lemieux Library Plaza, which was sought out by these cultural groups, for 17 minutes of silence to honor the lost lives in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

These acts of violence should never be welcomed in any community. As students, we choose to use our voices and bodies to be in solidarity with our fellow students and all those that have suffered and still bear the pain of their loss. One life lost is one too many. Enough is enough!

I hope we will find it in our hearts as a community to honor the lives lost and be in solidarity with students. Below is some information about the National School Walkout from the Action Network Organization.

In Solidarity,

Pa Ousman Jobe
SGSU President

What?

A mass school walkout, led by youth, to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers after school shootings. We need action. We demand Congress pass sensible legislation that would help keep us and our loved ones safe from gun violence at school, and beyond. Since Sandy Hook there have been over 200 school shootings resulting in over 400 people shot since Sandy Hook.

Why?

Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms. Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.

We must demand our elected officials do the job they were elected to do — keep us safe. Congress needs to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers after school shootings. They must take meaningful action to pass sensible federal gun reform legislation that will greatly reduce school shootings and save the lives of students and teachers.

DEMAND CONGRESS:

  • Ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines
  • Expand background checks to all gun sales
  • Pass federal Gun Violence Restraining Order law
  • Fund government research on gun violence
  • Promote safe storage

Who?

Students, Teachers, School Administrators, Parents, Everyone

Where?

Schools and universities across America. Some ideas for your youth-led action:

  • Wear all orange (color for movement) to show solidarity
  • Walk-Out on same day at same time across all time zones for a designated amount of time: 17 minutes for 17 students killed in Parkland, Fla. (10 a.m. ET, 10 a.m. CT, 10 a.m. MT, 10 a.m. PT)
  • Students can walk outside of their school or walk out the classroom into a hallway
  • Encourage schools to host an assembly discussing the issue of gun violence before/after walk-out
  • Students can host sign-making get-togethers for the walk-out
  • Write letters to Congress urging them to take action to keep schools safe

All actions must be inclusive and non-violent, and uphold the Women’s March Unity Principles.