President releases letter assuring campus is safe
University President Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins released a letter to the Southeast campus Thursday morning regarding campus safety. The letter was released after former Southeast student Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested in New York Wednesday morning for attempting to bomb a federal building. Below is the letter in full.
October 18, 2012
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As you may be aware, an international student from Bangladesh was arrested yesterday in New York City and charged with attempting to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank Building. This student was at Southeast for only one semester - Spring 2012. During the summer, the student requested that his records be transferred to a Brooklyn, New York, institution. The University complied with his request and notified the Department of Homeland Security through the federal government's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The student did not enroll at Southeast for the Summer or Fall 2012; consequently, the individual is not a student at Southeast Missouri State University.
I have met with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and have been assured that there is no reason to be concerned about safety issues on the Southeast campus. The FBI has indicated that Southeast was never a target of terrorism and the campus community can rest assured that all possible safety and security procedures have been and are continuing to be followed.
This is an ongoing FBI investigation under the auspices of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and any questions regarding the investigation should be directed to the Public Information Officer at the FBI office in St. Louis.
Because of the national attention, we anticipate numerous members of the media may be on campus over the next several days as they continue reporting on this story. Faculty, staff, and students may be asked to comment on this issue or on any aspects of this story. You are not required to speak with members of the media and if you wish, you may certainly refer any media inquiries to Ann Hayes, director of the News Bureau, at (573) 651-2552. Please be advised that if you do talk with the media, you are asked to keep in mind the restrictions of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
While we are very dismayed and concerned that a former Southeast student would be involved in an alleged act of terrorism, we are reassured that Homeland Security, the FBI, the JTTF security and safety policies put in place to safeguard our country are obviously working. More than 720,000 international students attend U.S. colleges and universities on an annual basis, with more than 15,000 enrolled at colleges and universities in the state of Missouri. These students come to our country under the rules and regulations of the federal government's Student and Exchange Visitor Program administered by Homeland Security, and are a great asset to the diversity and culture of our institutions.
At Southeast, we embrace the more than 800 enrolled international students as they bring a global perspective to our students, our campus, and the surrounding communities.
We are proud that Southeast continues to be recognized as the safest public four-year institution in Missouri by StateUniversity.com. Therefore, I would like to re-emphasize that the FBI has assured us that there is no reason to be concerned about safety issues on our campuses.
I hope you have a wonderful homecoming weekend.
Kenneth W. Dobbins