Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson sent a message to the main GT listserv Tuesday. I’m not sure I buy the bit about ‘outside agitators’–one of the three people arrested was a Georgia Tech student–but all in all I think it’s a pretty evenhanded response. Here’s the whole message:
The events of the past few days have been incredibly difficult and challenging for the entire Georgia Tech community. Consistent with our traditions and values, it is especially important that during times like these we come together and support one another.
One of our student leaders, Scout Schultz, has died and we all bear the tremendous weight of that loss. I met Scout last year at the Lavender Graduation ceremony, and our entire Georgia Tech community is mourning the tragic loss of this smart and passionate young person. Losing a student, friend, colleague, and campus leader is one of the most difficult experiences that any of us will have to face.
Georgia Tech has gained national attention as a result of this incident, and while today’s communications technologies provide us with almost instantaneous coverage, we must rely on professional investigation and evaluation, and not draw conclusions too quickly. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is currently investigating the incident and reviewing all of the circumstances surrounding Scout’s death. Details will be revealed by the GBI as they become available.
For now, we are focusing on mourning the loss and remembering Scout’s many contributions to the Georgia Tech community over the past four years. Last night’s vigil at the Campanile that was coordinated by the Pride Alliance and the Progressive Student Alliance was attended by almost 500 community members including Scout’s family. Unfortunately, they were also joined by several dozen others intent on creating a disturbance and inciting violence. We believe many of them were not part of our Georgia Tech community, but rather outside agitators intent on disrupting the event. They certainly did not honor Scout’s memory nor represent our values by doing so.
Rest assured that our campus community is responding to these recent events in a positive and constructive manner, in spite of the many challenges they represent. I am grateful for our students, faculty, staff, campus leaders, and for our campus police. The response by our students to last night’s events is particularly heartwarming – they were on Facebook and Twitter through the night trying to find ways to show support and to say this is not who we are.
In closing, I want to convey to you how proud I am of the Georgia Tech community. I know the true character of our community and am confident that we can work together to address our challenges and heal.
Let’s do it the Georgia Tech way. We are, after all, One Georgia Tech.
G.P. “Bud” Peterson
President, Georgia Tech