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Update After Incident at Clark Street Beach

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

Last night, a terrifying and tragic event took place at Clark Street Beach, a few steps from our Evanston campus. We write to you today to express our deepest sympathy for the victims of that shooting and their families, to acknowledge the anxiety and fear many of you felt last night, and to thank you for your cooperation and patience while you sheltered in place.

We have received messages from community members expressing frustration with the length of time it took for the University to inform the community of the shooting and to shelter in place. The first message went out roughly 30 minutes after shots were fired. We agree we should shorten that window.

We already have met with key members of the leadership team to discuss what happened last night and have instructed them to review our response, our procedures and the phone communication that was sent in error to ensure we do better when the next incident happens.

We also have asked for a review of our facilities in response to concerns that some buildings were difficult to lock down, and that we examine how we message when an event occurs just off our campuses. We are mindful of the effects of these incidents as we focus on the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff on both our Evanston and Chicago campuses.

Any situation that involves violence such as the shooting at Clark Street Beach last night creates confusion and fear. Our responsibility as a University is to communicate quickly and clearly, and to help you navigate the situation. We will continue to look for ways to improve on our response and will incorporate your feedback in this process.

According to the Evanston Police Department (EPD), two individuals were injured and one killed in the shooting. While the individuals involved are not affiliated with the University, EPD, who is leading the investigation, has our full cooperation. We are particularly saddened that one young man in the Evanston community has died.

Shootings like the one last night can have lasting effects on many of us, so we ask that you watch out for your peers today and treat one another with kindness. We encourage those in need of support to also use and share the following University resources:

  • Support spaces have been established on campus today for those who wish to gather and process together, including at Norris and Parkes Hall. The Community Spaces page will be updated throughout the day with information about those gathering spots.
  • TimelyCare is available to all students as a 24/7 resource to free virtual mental health support, including scheduled counseling and on-demand access to a mental health practitioner.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services(CAPS) is another resource for students. Students can find additional services and resources at NUhelp or through the Dean of Students Office.
  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers similar support for faculty, staff and postdoctoral trainees with 24/7 access to care advocates, short-term counseling and text therapy.
  • All members of the Northwestern community can access Religious and Spiritual Life, where chaplains are available to talk confidentially and provide support.

Although the threat to our community is believed to have passed, Northwestern University Police will continue increased patrols of the Evanston campus, the Clark Street Beach area and areas immediately adjacent to campus and will continue to evaluate needs on an ongoing basis. We want to thank both NUPD and EPD for their quick action last night amid truly difficult circumstances, and their continued efforts to ensure our safety and security.

We appreciate how our community worked together in the face of this horrific tragedy. Last night’s shooting is yet another reminder that none of us is immune to violence, and that we can and must work together to ensure we are prepared.