Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter Defazio announced Monday that the US Department of Education has awarded Umpqua Community College (UCC) $529,623 to help the UCC community recover from the mass shooting that occurred on campus last fall. The funding comes after Senators Merkley and Wyden and Congressman Defazio sent a letter of support to the Department of Education for the School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant program. SERV grants are awarded to schools where the learning environment has been disrupted by a violent or traumatic event.
“The level of trauma that the UCC community has been through over the past year is incomparable and the healing process is still underway,” said Merkley. “This funding will help make sure the students, faculty, and staff get the support and counseling they might need so the whole community can focus on educating and training students.”
“All of us as Oregonians should be very proud of the students, instructors and staff at Umpqua Community College as well as Roseburg for coming together in the face of unspeakable tragedy,” Wyden said. “I am also proud to have supported the college’s application for this grant, and know that the college deserves full federal support focusing on emergency response to violence. I will remain committed to UCC as the entire community continues to restore their campus.”
“This grant will help the UCC community continue to rebuild and recover in the aftermath of last fall’s devastating shooting by providing much-needed assistance to address the school’s ongoing needs, including mental health services and campus improvements,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “I’m proud to have been able to help UCC receive this grant, which will improve the school’s future security and recovery efforts. I will continue to work to ensure that Roseburg and UCC both have the resources necessary to move forward and heal.”
The UCC community has struggled to recover from the devastating events on October 1, 2015. The magnitude of the emotional toll that UCC has experienced has been immense and staggering. In addition to the disruption of instructional time, the yearly school schedule was paused. Instead of proceeding with the planned deadline to set final class schedules, UCC staff and students had to focus on recovering and rebuilding. In addition, financial aid disbursements that were in progress when the incident occurred were delayed. Given UCC’s high percentage of students who need financial aid to attend college, this disruption impacted students’ educational progress and living expenses.
The federal funding announced today will help UCC to cover costs associated with the devastating events of last fall and reimburse the college for costs incurred. The funding will also help to fund a Student Support and Wellness Director, a Recovery Advising Specialty, a Mental Health Therapist and additional security personnel.