In light of recent events impacting the Worcester State community, the University has created this Resource Center to centralize official announcements, updates, and resources that have been made available.
We are committed to fostering a safe and resilient environment and encourage you to stay connected and informed. If you have additional questions or concerns, please reach out to; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Worcester State Campus,
I am pleased to share with the campus community that we have selected The Healy+ Group to assess our response to the Oct. 28 campus incident.
The Healy+ Group, a professional services firm, will perform a holistic post-incident review with interviews of key stakeholders, review of all relevant documents and information.. CoSecure, a partner under The Healy+ Group, will spend a minimum of two and a half days on campus working to thoroughly assess our physical security environment. Following their assessment, The Healy+ Group will write and deliver a report to the university which will be shared with the campus community, and provide a roadmap for our continuous security improvements.
I appreciate and thank members of our campus community for their patience as we worked through the request for proposals process and the selection of a company to perform this third-party review. I will share additional information with the campus next week during our Campus Conversation on Dec. 18.
Lois A. Wims
Dear Worcester Staff Students, Faculty and Staff:
Over the past six weeks, University administrators have undertaken a strategic review of the emergency alert system and surveillance devices on campus. This includes how users are informed, opt in/opt out, and testing, deployment and engagement. Improvements were recommended and resulted in the following changes. Additional information will be forthcoming.
Effective immediately, all members of the Worcester State community are automatically “opted in” to the RAVE Alert system. RAVE Alert, the university’s emergency alert system, primarily works through mobile communication devices (text and voice) and is the most efficient method to disseminate messages to large groups, followed by email and traditional land-line communication. While users have the option to “opt out” of text messaging, they do so, acknowledging forfeiture to receive timely communication in the event of an emergency, including inclement weather. Email and VM through RAVE are not “opt out” optional.
Worcester State’s RAVE Alert system will be tested each semester within the first three (3) weeks of the start of the term. Members of the campus community will be informed at least 10 days in advance of the date and time of the system testing.
RAVE Alert is only as good as the information we have on record for each member of our community. If your mobile number has changed within the last 90+ days or you are not certain we have the correct mobile number, you are advised to download the RAVE Guardian App to update your information or log-into RAVE Alerts on the University Police website, https://www.worcester.edu/university-police/, using the multi-factor authentication (MFA). Once there, you can update your mobile number and include additional contact information such as parent(s) or family member.
Security Enhancements on Campus
Post the Oct. 28 campus incident, University PD recommended several security upgrades and enhancement throughout campus. Installation is underway and will be complete by the start of the spring semester, 2024. Here are the enhancements:
1 – We are upgrading existing cameras and adding additional cameras within the parking garage and surrounding area. This includes upgrades to the existing cameras on all levels and adding cameras in stairways. Upgrades to this specific project will be complete and operational by mid- to late-December.
2 – Installation of license plate reader technology or LPR, at the north and south entrances to campus, and within the parking garage is a recent amendment. This will enable University PD the ability to log and document all vehicles entering campus. This should be fully operational by the start of the spring semester, 2024.
3 – Wiring is slated to start for the installation of cameras in public areas throughout Chandler Village. Cameras in this apartment-style living residence hall – one of the oldest on campus — should be fully operational by the start of the spring semester, 2024.
4 – The review and addition of supplemental cameras providing oversight of select parking areas is also underway.
Provost and Acting President
As of 5pm today we are more than happy to welcome guests/visitors back into the Residence Halls. Residents of the buildings will be asked to show their ID before entry. Non-residents (guests, visitors, family, residents of other halls) will be asked to sign in with the Desk Assistant. The resident of the building will meet you in the lobby and you will both be asked to provide identification. The DA will write your information into our Guest Log and you will be on your way.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking to implement a new resident/guest swipe system. This will allow residents and guests to have a more organized and manageable means of accessing the buildings.
Please keep in mind our guest policy:
-Residents are allowed a maximum of two guests each at any given time.
-Guest privileges are limited to one 48-hour period within a seven-day time span. Guests must vacate the residence halls after the 48 hours have expired and may not be eligible for guest status within the residence halls for one calendar week (7 calendar days) from the beginning of their last visit without specific permission of the Office of Residence Life and Housing.
-All guests are expected to observe the rules and regulations of campus conduct during their visit. Residents are held strictly responsible for the conduct and actions of their guests, and will be held accountable for any inappropriate behavior by their guest.
-Hosts are expected to sign in and escort their guests at all times.
-Overnight guests are only permitted with the permission of all roommates as well as the members of the apartment/suite.
-Except for specially approved programs or circumstances, no guest under 16 years of age will be permitted to be signed into a residence hall without the presence of their parent or guardian.
-All guests must present identification when requested to do so by any staff member of Worcester State. Guests must be prepared to present valid photo identification, including drivers licenses, state issued identification, school identification, etc.
-Anyone who is not a resident of the building they are entering, must stop at the front desk and sign in their guest with the DA. This includes residents from another building, commuters, non WSU students, etc.
-Desk Assistants are available at the Wasylean, Dowden & Sheehan front desks 7 days a week from 5pm – 1am.
Thank you so much for your continued patience,
Residence Life and Housing
As you can imagine, the last week has been extremely difficult for the Worcester State University community. To everyone who has reached out with words of encouragement and offers of support, thank you. With Thursday’s announcement by the District Attorney’s Office that a suspect has been captured and arrested in connection with the Oct. 28 campus shooting, we are on the path to healing, although that will take time.
As we have resumed classes this week, we have been amazed by the resilience, strength, and determination of our students, faculty, and staff. They remind us that although we are a changed campus, we will continue to be defined as a place of academic excellence, hope, and opportunity.
Over the coming weeks, we will continue to keep you updated on new developments. For now, we have no changes to our calendar of upcoming alumni events. Please visit our resource center to read previous communications related to this incident, including a statement of support for our sister institution Salem State University, and North High School, as well as our enhanced security protocols. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at email@example.com or 508-929-8141.
Dear Worcester State University Community,
This morning, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early announced that Kevin Rodriguez, 18, was captured in New York this morning on a warrant in connection with the Oct. 28 fatal shooting at Worcester State University. He was wanted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and armed assault with intent to murder.
The Worcester Police, Worcester State University Police, Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, U.S. Marshals Service, and Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office all worked in collaboration to locate and apprehend Rodriguez.
We hope that this is a step forward in what we know will be a long healing process for our campus community.
We deeply appreciate the dedicated efforts of state and local law enforcement who have worked around the clock over the past week. While the investigation around the events of Oct. 28 is ongoing, we want to assure our students, their families, and all faculty and staff that the safety and security of our campus remain our top priority. Counseling services, in addition to increased security measures and police presence, will continue to be in place as long as necessary. We will also continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement in the ongoing investigation and will provide updates as appropriate.
To the Worcester State University Community,
This morning, we were devastated to learn about another gun violence tragedy involving a student at our sister institution, Salem State University. Carl-Hens Beliard was a 2023 graduate of North High School in Worcester with deep ties to the Worcester State community, including as a member of the 2023 Division I Champion North High basketball team coached by Worcester State alumnus Al Pettway.
This tragedy, on the heels of our own, brings home just how connected we are and our need to support one another at this time. We extend our condolences to everyone impacted by these events.
We want to assure you that we are doing everything in our power to ensure our campus remains safe through increased security protocols and police presence. At Worcester State University, we have been working around the clock to support the well-being of our students, make immediate enhancements to campus security, and look at next steps.
We also want to echo the sentiments of Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, who earlier today shared in our heartbreak and underscored the senselessness of these acts of gun violence, particularly among young residents, and the work that still needs to be done.
We will continue to update the community about developments on our campus. If you missed it, please see our Oct. 31 message to parents and families. If you have continued concerns, please do not hesitate to contact campus leaders directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Worcester State University Parents, Guardians, and Families,
Saturday morning, a tragedy unfolded on our campus that has left us all heartbroken, frightened, and uncertain. We know that you are concerned and worried about your student and have many questions. Acting President/Provost Lois Wims and I want to answer the questions we can and provide an update on the university’s response. Please bear in mind that there is an active investigation being led by the District Attorney’s Office, about which we are not allowed to comment.
Our first and most urgent priority remains the safety and well-being of our students.
Since Saturday morning, we have provided ongoing counseling services for students who live in our residence halls and off campus through one-on-one scheduled counseling sessions, daily walk-in/triage times, and our 24/7 ResilientU mental health program. We will continue to provide appropriate resources and support as needed. Be assured that support for our students will be in place for as long as necessary. We understand that many students are still processing the events, and that may take time. In addition to their physical safety, we are committed to the academic, emotional, and mental well-being of all our students.
As we resume classes this week, we are fully aware that a return to routine is a process, and students will have different needs over the coming weeks. If your student is struggling, please encourage them to reach out to Counseling Services or their academic advisor. Caring staff members will work with your student to provide any needed academic or mental health support to keep their education on track.
We want to outline for you the safety protocols in place and our plans for the future. First, our university is staffed by uniformed police officers in the Worcester State University Police Department (UPD). They are sworn officers held to the same standards of all other law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth with a mission to promote a peaceful quality of life, establish community partnerships, and foster a safe learning environment.
Residential students will experience enhanced security protocols in their halls starting this week. We have hired a private security firm to work alongside student employees at lobby check-in desks in the residence halls. Continuing from the weekend, we are implementing a short-term suspension of all visitors and guests to the residence halls.
In addition, we have increased police presence on campus with uniformed officers from six state and local law enforcement agencies. University leadership and UPD Chief Jason Kapurch are actively reviewing safety protocols and other potential enhancements to campus security. We will have more to announce in the near term.
Over the last few days, we have communicated with many family members of our students directly. We want to thank you for your sharing your concerns and suggestions for where we can learn and improve. We are aware of the trust you have placed in us and do not take it for granted. Our students are amazing, and we are confident in their resilience and our community’s resilience as we move forward together.
If you have continued concerns, please do not hesitate to contact campus leaders directly by emailing email@example.com.
Dear Worcester State University Community:
Saturday morning, a tragedy unfolded on our university campus that has left us all heartbroken, frightened, and uncertain. We share in the grief and pain that is being experienced by our students and their families, faculty, staff, and the wider Worcester community. While I have been out on medical leave, I have been in continual communication with the Board of Trustees and Acting President and Provost Lois Wims. Provost Wims and I want to update you on the Worcester State response and plans for the coming days.
Our first and most urgent priority remains the safety and well-being of our community. Since Saturday morning, we have provided ongoing Counseling Services support for students who live in our residence halls and off campus and increased police presence across the campus, and are bringing on teams of crisis and trauma counselors for faculty, and staff. In addition, we have brought therapeutic comfort dogs to campus, and we will continue to provide appropriate resources as needed. We want all students—those who live in the residence halls and those who live off campus—to know that support will be in place for as long as necessary. We fully understand that many students are still processing the events, and that may take time. We will be here for you when you are ready.
As we return to classes tomorrow, we will continue to support all students, faculty, and staff as we move forward together. Our caring academic advisors and counseling services are available to provide the support, resources, and understanding that is needed for our students’ academic, emotional, and mental well-being. We urge students to reach out to a trusted member of the faculty or staff for support.
We want to express our confidence in, and appreciation for, the Worcester State University Police Department. Our officers are sworn officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and receive training that is consistent with all other law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth. They continue to work closely with the lead investigators from the District Attorney’s Office. The university’s leadership, alongside UPD Chief Jason Kapurch, is reviewing potential enhancements to campus security and will have more to announce in the short term. For the immediate future, you can expect to see officers from state and local agencies, as well as partner universities, on campus to support our community.
Many individuals in our community have been working around the clock and have gone above and beyond in the midst of this tragedy. We want to thank all of the staff—especially our Student Affairs team, faculty, law enforcement officers, and community partners who have provided tremendous support, guidance, and compassion.
Moving forward, university leaders will provide regular updates to the campus community via email. We urge all members of the community to sign up for Rave alerts, our emergency notification system. Please visit our website for the link to register for Rave alerts and a complete listing of campus resources available to students, faculty, and staff.
The violence of the world around us was brought tragically home to our campus this weekend. Coming during a time of anticipated joy—Homecoming, Family Day, Hallowe’en—seems particularly cruel. The loss of a young life and the alteration of others is a painful and stark reality.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 28th, a group of individuals engaged in an altercation in the parking lot between Dowden Hall and Wesleyean which involved an exchange of gunfire. Aid was given on scene by Worcester State University police and the two victims were brought to the hospital. One was pronounced dead at the hospital and one is recovering from surgery. These were not students of Worcester State. Shelter in place alerts were sent. The investigation commenced immediately and involved the cordoning of the parking lot. Students were asked to shelter in place for several hours. Students who witnessed the events participated in the investigation and continue to provide video and statements.
Our focus in the immediate hours of Saturday was the safety and support of our resident students and staff while cooperating with an ongoing investigation. Information updates were concentrated on this population and were also limited by the District Attorney’s Office. I recognize this was frustrating for those not on campus who had received a RAVE alert. This, too, will be a part of our after-action examination.
Our campus has been unalterably changed by this tragic event early Saturday morning. Its impact will lead us in the days ahead to a complete a thorough after-action process with recommendations for improvements in security and support for our campus community. We will reach out for your input and involvement in this critical examination process to shape how the campus will respond to any future emergency.
We have and will continue to share resources for our entire community as we did this afternoon. In the coming days, students will receive information directly from our Counseling Center. Faculty and staff will receive information on additional resources, services, and programs from Employee Services. I have been so impressed in the ways our students, first responders, faculty, staff, and families have supported each other and represented us well in the media and in making helpful suggestions for improvement. Please continue to show that kindness and compassion in the next hours, weeks, and months.
It has also been gratifying to receive the amount of pledged support by our HECCMA leaders, Commonwealth agency heads, elected officials, alumni and friends.
We will open for questions. Before we do please note that specific investigation questions must be referred to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
Safety and Security on Campus
On Oct. 28 at approximately 2:30 a.m., there was an incident near a residence hall parking lot resulting in the fatal shooting of one man and the injury of another. Neither of them are Worcester State students. On Nov. 2, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early announced that Kevin Rodriguez, 18, was captured in New York on a warrant in connection with the shooting on our campus. He was wanted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and armed assault with intent to murder.
As this is an active investigation being led by the District Attorney’s Office, we are not allowed to comment further. All questions about the events should be directed to the DA’s Office.
Our university is protected by uniformed police officers in the Worcester State University Police Department (UPD). They are sworn officers held to the same standards and training of all other law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth.
In addition to the UPD, we have supplemental police support from six state and local law enforcement agencies on campus. Residential students will experience enhanced security protocols in their halls starting this week. We have hired a private security firm to work alongside student employees at lobby check-in desks in the residence halls. Continuing from the weekend, we are implementing a short-term suspension of all visitors and guests to the residence halls.
If students have any concerns related to safety on campus, they can dial 8911 from any university phone or call 508-929-8911.
In addition to physical safety, the mental and emotional well-being of our broader community is of the utmost concern to us.
Since the incident occurred, we have been providing ongoing counseling services for students who live in our residence halls and off campus through one-on-one scheduled counseling sessions, daily walk-in/triage times, and our 24/7 ResilientU mental health program. Be assured that support for our students and broader community will be in place for as long as necessary.
We will continue to provide updated resources as necessary.
The physical safety of our campus is our top priority, and we are committed to making the campus a safe and peaceful place to live and learn.
Like any urban campus, we are not immune to risks. Outside of the UPD, which patrols campus 24/7, we always encourage students to remain vigilant to their surroundings at all times, exercise caution while walking at night, and report anything of concern immediately. Students are also encouraged to become familiar with a variety of measures in place to keep our community safe:
- The Rave Alert System: Students and employees can register up to three phone numbers, including the phone number of a parent, guardian, or family member, to receive real-time emergency alerts. In the case of any emergency on our campus, this is the immediate notification system to the entire community. Students can sign up for Rave Alerts on the University Police website.
- The Rave Guardian Personal Safety App: This app puts students in direct contact with University Police in an emergency and allows students to communicate with members of their own personal safety network. For instance, students can set a timer to notify people to check up on them if they are alone or in an unfamiliar place. Or, students can use the emergency button to make a direct, immediate connection to University Police with GPS location and personal profile information if they are in an emergency situation.
The app can be downloaded here or directly from the Apple Store or Google Play.
- University Police Department: Can be dialed directly from any campus phone at 8911 or by calling 508-929-8911.
University leadership and UPD Chief Jason Kapurch are actively reviewing safety protocols and other potential enhancements to campus security. We will have more to announce in the near term.
We continue to evaluate this situation in real time to ensure the safety of everyone. As of now, all on-campus student and public events are proceeding as planned, with some modifications.
Midnight Madness, our annual basketball tournament with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, on Nov. 8 at the Wellness Center, has been moved to 6 p.m., and there will be increased security measures in place.
Any changes to scheduled events will be communicated as quickly as possible via email and social media.
Our emergency alert system, Rave Alerts, requires a Worcester State email to access, however, students can register up to three numbers with the system. When an alert is issued, all registered numbers will be called and sent a text if opted in.
We are actively reviewing our process for collecting, updating, and retaining parent or guardian contact information for future events and will have more to share soon.
For now, communications and updates related to this incident will be shared via school email, online on our news site, and on our social media channels.
Commuter students are permitted in the residence halls as a guest of a resident of the building they are entering. Anyone who is not a resident of the building they are entering, must stop at the front desk and sign in with the DA. All guests must present identification when requested to do so by any staff member of Worcester State. Guests must be prepared to present valid photo identification, including driver’s licenses, state-issued identification, school identification, etc. Guest privileges are limited to one 48-hour period within a seven-day time span
- Our website: Emergency alert banners are posted in real time on our website: worcester.edu.
- Official University Announcements & Updates: University leaders share official university updates and announcements on this resource page.
- Direct emails: Sent from campus leadership that go out to registered students, employees, and parents for whom we have an email address in the student record.
- University social media accounts: The university shares critical information via Facebook, Instagram, and Threads.
Faculty and staff can access Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits through the EAP website using access code mass4you, if needed. Employees may also receive confidential, in-the-moment emotional support and connection to next steps from a master’s level consultant 24/7 by dialing 844-263-1982.