May 16, 2016 2:40 p.m.
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Umpqua Community College with over a half million dollars to help the UCC community recover from the mass shooting that occurred last fall.
That announcement came on Monday from Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio. A release from Senator Merkley’s office says the funding comes after the three members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Education for the School Emergency Response to Violence grant program. SERV grants are awarded to schools where the learning environment has been disrupted by a violent or traumatic event.
Senator Merkley said “the level of trauma that the UCC community has been through over the past year is incomparable and the healing process is still underway”. Merkley said “the funding will make sure the students, faculty and staff gets the support and counseling they might need, so the whole community can focus on educating and training students”.
Senator Wyden said that Oregonians should be “very proud of the students, instructors and staff” at the school, as well as Roseburg, for coming together “in the face of unspeakable tragedy”. Wyden said that UCC deserves full federal support “focusing on emergency response to violence”.
Congressman Peter DeFazio said the 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”.
The release from Senator Merkley says the magnitude of the emotional toll that UCC has experienced has been immense and staggering. The release notes that 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 on Monday will help the college cover costs associated with the events of last fall and reimburse the school for costs that were incurred. The funding will also help to fund a Student Support and Wellness Director, a Recovery Advising Specialist, a Mental Health Therapist and additional security personnel.