Communications from Dr. Brown

April 5, 2019

To the FIT Community,

I write with gratitude---and concern. We have all just emerged safely from the kind of situation we all pray will not occur in our lives: the threat of violence in the guise of an unknown shooter somewhere on our premises. For about two hours, we were “sheltered in place” --an unnerving and frightening situation for all of us. However, it was reassuring to know that the New York City Police and FIT’s Public Safety officers responded quickly and efficiently, taking all necessary measures to protect us---and that within a relatively short period of time, identified and without violence apprehended the individual, who was found off campus.

This was, however, a tense and challenging incident---the first and one hopes the last one we will ever have to experience at FIT or anywhere else. I am grateful for the “Shelter in Place” drills that we have instituted—and for the diligence of our Public Safety officers and the NYPD. I am grateful for the way in which those members of the community who were here on campus on this late Friday evening followed instructions. For many, I am sure it was not easy. But mostly, I am grateful that all members of the FIT community are now safe.

I am concerned, however, about any residual fears that students might harbor under these circumstances. Residence advisors are available now for those students who live on campus and would like to speak with a counselor. Of course, counselors will be available to commuter students on their return to campus on Monday.

Have a good and restful weekend.

Dr. Joyce F. Brown

April 8, 2019

To the FIT Community,

In the aftermath of Friday’s event, I want to reiterate how thankful I am for the safe resolution of what could have been a tragic situation. I am gratified by the rapid response of our public safety officers, the NYPD, and our faculty and staff who took such quick and caring action to reassure and protect our community. In fact, it was the clear thinking of a professor and his students who notified Public Safety of this situation.

Nevertheless, it was a frightening situation for all of us, one that, for me, only reinforces my belief that your safety and security is and always will be my first priority. I understand how unsettling this has been for those who were on campus as well as those who were not, including the families of our students.

We are going to hold several college-wide conversations with a shelter-in-place presentation for all employees and students:

Tuesday, April 9: Noon-1pm—Haft Theater
Thursday, April 11 Noon to 1pm—Katie Murphy Amphitheatre 
Thursday, April 11—5:30 pm—Katie Murphy Amphitheatre(to accommodate adjunct faculty)

You should know that FIT’s Emergency Preparedness Response Group always analyzes event response in its aftermath. Response to any one incident is always a learning experience because each one teaches us something new. We know we can always do better and these meetings may identify opportunities to strengthen our systems.

I look forward to seeing you at one of these events this week.

Dr. Joyce F. Brown

April 12, 2019

To the FIT Community,

As this last week before spring break comes to a close, I want to thank all of you for your response to last Friday’s shelter-in-place event.  Your concern and support for each other in light of a precarious situation was evident---particularly so as we shared our experiences and concerns at the three college-wide forums we held this past week.

As you know, the incident ended without injury or violence but it was, without question, stressful for all concerned.   From campus conversations and the on-going analysis and  assessment by our Emergency Preparedness and Response Group, we have already identified a number of ways in which improvements can be made to fortify our safety measures. I write to you now to provide an update---and some of the actions we plan to take in the weeks and months ahead.

The student involved in the incident, a communication design major,  has been barred from campus and the FIT disciplinary process has begun---a process  in which I have full confidence.  We have been advised by the NYPD that he has been arraigned on a felony terrorist threat charge and is incarcerated without bail. He is not scheduled to see a judge before June.

We have already surveyed all of the spaces on campus and  will install locks on those doors that currently lack them. We are assessing how best to decrease visibility to those classrooms and labs that are enclosed in glass.   We will continue to test our PA system, as we do routinely--- and where there are acoustical glitches, we will appreciate your feedback. 

We have already increased the shelter-in-place presentations for faculty and staff and will integrate them into our student orientation program and schedule them on a more frequent basis  for students through the Student Government Association.

We continue to offer counseling resources for students through the Dean of Students Office and for staff through EAP, which we urge you to use or to recommend to others.   I remind you that we also have an active CARE team---whose mission is to identify and assist students with behavior that could be interpreted as harmful to the student or others. The team can be contacted through the Dean of Students Office.

Most importantly,  the Emergency Preparedness and Response Group will have the benefit of your feedback and ideas and will make every effort to be responsive to your concerns in their ongoing  efforts to enhance the safety of the FIT community.

I hope that your spring break is restful and that you return refreshed and ready for the final weeks of this academic year.

Dr. Joyce F. Brown