Yesterday's Shelter-in-Place Order

To: W&L Students, Faculty, Staff, and Parents
From: President Will Dudley
Date: Nov. 2, 2023

I write this afternoon to thank our campus community for remaining calm, patient and cooperative during yesterday’s shelter-in-place order. I greatly appreciate everyone’s efforts and am tremendously relieved that the situation was resolved without incident.

The directive to shelter in place was the result of an anonymous communication alleging a general threat to campus. The communication did not target a specific individual or location. At this time, we have no reason to think that the communication came from a member of the campus community or that it was related to a separate incident reported at Davidson Park involving fireworks, which were initially reported as possible gunfire. Our Public Safety staff immediately contacted law enforcement and issued the shelter-in-place order. Law enforcement conducted a thorough search, and it was determined that there was no active threat to campus safety.

As law enforcement is continuing its investigation, the university will not be sharing additional details about this matter. I can assure you that we take all safety concerns very seriously. We work closely with our local, regional, and state law enforcement partners to monitor and investigate potential threats and communicate relevant information to our community, and we are grateful for their swift response.

We owe our gratitude not only to law enforcement, but to our Public Safety team, who assisted the police in their search, to our University Counseling staff, who provided support to students in need last night and will continue to do so in the coming days, to our faculty and staff, many of whom sheltered with students in their classrooms and offices, providing guidance and support during a stressful situation, to our Dining staff, who provided extended service hours, and to our Emergency Management team, who kept our campus community updated while providing logistical support to law enforcement.

I know this was an upsetting experience for many of you. As Dean Evans mentioned in her email last night, we are ensuring students, faculty, and staff have access to counseling and support services.

Students may make appointments with the Counseling Center at 540-458-8590 and access free, confidential mental health services in any language by calling Telus Health at 866-743-7732 (or downloading the free Telus app) at any time. Class deans are also available to support students. In a mental health emergency after hours, please call or visit the Student Health Center at 540-458-8401, contact Public Safety at 540-458-8999, or call 911.

Employees may contact the Carilion Employee Assistance Program to access counseling services. If you would like to speak to a consultant, call 540-981-8950.  This service is free and confidential.

Parents and family members who wish to receive emergency messages directly from W&L may sign up to receive our General Alerts at

I encourage anyone in our community who needs help to seek it through the resources above. Again, I thank you for pulling together and looking out for each other.