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Carnegie Mellon University responds to recent shootings

The summer of 2016 has been filled with many high and low moments. Highlights include the 2016 summer Olympics, which is now coming to an end with the U.S. dominating several major events such as swimming and gymnastics. The presidential election has also been heating up with the Democratic and Republican National Conventions that took place last month. Among the various events that have been making news headlines across the country was the shooting of black civilians in the cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Baton Rogue, Louisiana as well as sniper attacks that targeted police officers in Dallas, TX. Spanning over the course of three days, these events have taken the lives of and injured many of those involved.

Aware of the toll this has taken on the country and the effect this has been having on many of its students, Carnegie Mellon released a statement over the summer addressing the impact of these events on its students and the university's stance on the surrounding conflict.

“Carnegie Mellon University shares the nation’s distress over recent shootings in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Baton Rouge,” the press release stated. “Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones, and all those touched by violence.”

The events of the summer add to the big-picture conversations of race tensions and gun violence that have been highly publicized recently in the media between black civilians and police officers.

These recent events follow the shootings of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner to name only a few. The names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have now also been made known to the nation. On Tuesday July 5, Alton Sterling, a black man, was fatally shot by police in front of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, LA. The very next day Philando Castile, another black man, was fatally shot in Minnesota after being pulled over by police.

These back to back events have caused outrage, not only because they are being viewed as racially motivated events against the black community, but also due to their being filmed by those on the scene.

Many of those in the Carnegie Mellon community have found themselves deeply impacted by these events. The university acknowledges this by stating in the press release that “members of the university community are participants in the larger society, and therefore affected by the same forces and challenges that face all of us in the United States."

Affected by this news, many supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and those who believe in the injustice of these situations took to protesting to express their outrage and their desire for peace. However, on Thursday, July 7, two days after the shooting of Sterling and the day after the death of Castille, what should've been a peaceful protest in Dallas, TX took a turn for the worst when snipers aimed fire at innocent police officers in the area seeking retribution for these acts of violence.

While these acts have impassioned many across the nation, the university has made it clear that in these tough times we should not look to violence as the solution. "As an institution and as a community, Carnegie Mellon does not tolerate violence," stated the press release. "We continue to stand for inclusion, compassion and respect. We reassert the bedrock value of bringing together people of all backgrounds and identities to live and work together to enrich the human condition."

"As we join the nation in grief and shock, we cannot become complacent about violence or the loss of human life," the press release stated. "Each of us in the Carnegie Mellon family must continue to live out our shared values and provide an example of how we can work together as a respectful community."

Just as we have come to value the interdisciplinary nature of the university which seeks ways to cross paths between many of the individual colleges and fields of studies, finding ways for one to support the other, the same notion of working together for the greater good should stay with us.

The full university statement can be read online at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2016/july/statement-recent-shootings.html.