Dear U of A community,
The last 24 hours, since the armed robbery and fatal shooting occurred in HUB mall, have been among the most difficult that our campus has had to face. All of us are shocked by the events and the resulting loss of life on our campus. I know that I speak for the whole university community in extending our condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
We are relieved that no University of Alberta students or staff were injured during the event. Nevertheless, ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone in the university community has been our main concern throughout the day. Counselling and support services for students have been made available at Lister Hall, and HPaWS counsellors are available for staff. Students temporarily displaced from HUB Mall have been accommodated at Lister.
I know that there have been some questions and concerns relating to communications in the minutes and hours immediately after the events. I want to assure you that within minutes of the first alarm, before officers from both the Edmonton Police Service and University Protective Services arrived on the scene, Residence Services employees had begun alerting and moving HUB Mall residents to a safe location. Once the Edmonton Police did arrive, they immediately took control of the crime scene, and as part of their protocol, they took over the process of alerting students and conducting a room to room search, in order to ascertain if there was any remaining immediate threat. They advised students to remain in their rooms. After they had ascertained that HUB was no longer in danger, the HUB public address system was activated and used to make public announcements informing students.
As you know, the university has many communications tools to use during an emergency; depending on the factors of each case, the University Protective Services makes a decision. In this case, because among the first notifications we received from Edmonton Police Service included information that the suspect was no longer in the area and that there was no immediate danger to people on campus, we chose not to send a full-scale alert stretching far beyond campus. The university homepage went into Emergency Alert mode and became the primary communication channel. Once we have emerged from this crisis, we will conduct a full review of our crisis and communications protocols as is usually done. Information has been posted there throughout the day as soon as accurate information has been received from Edmonton Police Service. I ask that you look for all further updates for the university community—including when HUB Mall is re-opened—at the UAlberta homepage.
I would like to thank all of the students, staff and faculty who have responded so quickly to the circumstances today, making arrangements for students and staff impacted by the event. In particular, the efforts of the members of the Crisis Management Team, University Protective Services, and our partners in Edmonton Police Service have been instrumental in ensuring the safety of students, staff, faculty and visitors at the U of A.
Acting President and Provost