Last week was a truly trying one for the MIT community, from the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday to the death of our own Officer Sean Collier on campus Thursday night. In the ensuing near-24-hour manhunt for the suspects, MIT campus and Boston went on lockdown as we waited anxiously for their capture.
In this difficult time, the good of our community emerged. People leapt forward to support those affected by the marathon bombing. MIT living groups in the vicinity immediately offered assistance to those at the scene, and soon, Boston overflowed with well wishes, fundraising campaigns, and other recovery efforts.
Closer to home, we were shaken by the death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty after only 15 months on the force. We lost not only a protector, but also a friend who was deeply involved in the MIT community. He was loved by all, and will be remembered for his bravery and service. Our hearts go out to his friends, family, and all who knew him.
As the investigation continues, we urge the community to reach out to their friends and neighbors, especially those who may be wondering — am I now a target because of my race or the way I look? The actions and guilt of individuals are independent and distinct from the behavior of an entire group. We must discourage the unfair and hurtful generalizations that people have drawn throughout history based on the singular actions of an individual. Our strength is in embracing our community and not in turning against the innocent.
Finally, we call upon the administration to focus on campus safety. Since the gunman hoax in February, MIT has already shown significant improvements in notifying the community of potential threats in a timely manner. Now, MIT owes an assurance of continued safety to its on-campus community, families, and first responders. We expect MIT to develop a concrete plan detailing how the Institute might respond to potential threats. In rapidly developing situations, how would MIT keep the community both safe and informed? And after the past week, how will campus security protocols change?
The events of this past week have shown MIT to be resilient and caring. As we move forward and resume our lives, let us continue to help those affected by the past week heal, honor our fallen Officer Sean Collier, and remember that we are stronger as a community.