BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 8, 2011 – Dear Colleagues: It is with a deep – and regrettably familiar – sense of sadness that I write to you. Once again, the campus and the community that we love so well have been visited by senseless violence and tragic loss. Tragedy again struck Virginia Tech in a wanton act of violence where our police officer, Deriek Crouse, was murdered during a routine traffic stop. My heart goes out to his family who will surely feel most keenly, in the days and months and years ahead, the profound loss that today’s events have brought to pass. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and to his colleagues in the police department.
But my heart goes out also to all of you, members of a strong and tightly-knit community that has had the sad misfortune to have weathered these storms before. I have been, and will continue to be, proud of how you have risen to the occasion time and time again, growing stronger in your bond and in your loyalty to one another and to the Hokie Nation.
We must also acknowledge that the bond we feel most strongly in these times is borne of sorrow, and that sorrow demands that we turn to one another for solace. I encourage you to seek out consolation in the company of your fellow Hokies, those who understand how these events, tragic though they are, shape us into better people.
The Virginia Tech community has been admirably served by its outstanding police department. Now, one who had sworn to serve and protect us has fallen, and we can pay no greater tribute than to pledge to serve and protect one another, as the spirit of Ut Prosim calls us to do.
Sincerely and with deepest sorrow,
Charles W. Steger