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Media & Press Information

To reach the Secular Student Alliance office, please call 614-441-9588 x 101 to reach Kelley Freeman, our Communications Associate. We receive a high volume of emails and do not want to miss your inquiry, particularly if you are on a deadline. We would be happy to answer your questions or accommodate your request.

Statement from Secular Student Alliance at North Carolina State University

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The Secular Student Alliance at North Carolina State University is an autonomous affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance. This is their statement regarding the recent triple homocide in Chapel Hill. To read the statement by our national office, you can find it here.

The members of the Secular Student Alliance at NC State grieve the murders of Yusor Abu-Salha, Deah Barakat, and Razan Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill yesterday. We are dismayed and saddened by the loss of these members of our community and the trauma it has caused. The SSA at NC State condemns these killings without reservation, and offers our deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

The SSA at NC State’s leadership has spoken out about this tragedy. 

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my fellow students, and angered by this act of cruelty. It is unthinkable to me that lives can be taken so senselessly,” says Nick Freeman, undergraduate advisor of the SSA at NC State. “Although I didn't know them personally, it is clear that Deah, Yusor, and Razan cared about their community and had hearts for service and good works. My thoughts go out to their friends and families."

“These senseless murders are horrifying,” says Jonathan Otten, president of the SSA at NC State. “The loss of fellow students, especially ones with whom I attended both high school and college, hurts deeply. They cared deeply about service and improving our world. We offer our solidarity and support, and my thoughts are with their families, friends, and community. Violence like this is never a solution to anything, and there is profound need for dialogue, deeper understanding, and acknowledgement that, because we’re all valued parts of the same world, hate and intolerance can’t be options.”

We recognize that intolerance is a problem affecting many communities, and this tragedy is a reminder that there are some who do not feel that all people can coexist. We strive to combat this view, and we offer our solidarity to those affected by this terrible act of violence. The SSA at NC State strives to work with all students to foster a community in which all voices are heard and respected, and in which all people are safe, regardless of religious differences. 

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Statement on the murders in Chapel Hill: "We hope that dialogues can happen, and bridges are built, not burned"

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Everyone at the Secular Student Alliance is appalled by the murders of Deah Bakurat, Yusor Mohammed, and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina yesterday.  We are further appalled by the trauma and terror caused by these murders and offer our condolences to the victims, their family, and the greater Chapel Hill community. The Secular Student Alliance encourages students to work with each other to understand one another and make the world a better place. These killings work in the exact opposite of that cause.  

“We are horrified by the violence in Chapel Hill against these three young people who seem to have so profoundly dedicated themselves to helping their fellow human beings,” says August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. “We mourn the loss of these three young people who were working so hard to make the world a better place.”

Secular students from the Chapel Hill and surrounding areas also expressed their concern over what has happened.

"We at the University of North Carolina Secular Student Alliance absolutely condemn these murders, and we stand in solidarity with the Muslim community," says Samantha Jackson, UNC SSA Board Member. "It is hard to express the grief we feel as classmates, as Tar Heels, as members of the greater Chapel Hill community. Lives will never be the same, and we are trying to figure out how to move forward emotionally after this."

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my fellow students, and angered by this act of cruelty. It is unthinkable to me that lives can be taken so senselessly,” says Nick Freeman, Secular Student Alliance Board Member and North Carolina State University student. “Although I didn't know them personally, it is clear that Deah, Yusor, and Razan cared about their community and had hearts for service and good works. My thoughts go out to their friends and families."

The Secular Student Alliance promotes pluralism and secularism. We work alongside people of faith, and work to spread the understanding that both people with and without faith have the capacity to do good. Nothing about the lack of a belief in a god supports the murder of innocent people, and we absolutely condemn what has happened. We hope that dialogues can happen, and bridges are built, not burned, in the wake of this.

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RELEASE: New Hire for Focus on Individual Secular Activists

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Secular Student Alliance
http://secularstudents.org

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelley Freeman (614)441-9588 x101
[email protected]

Secular Student Alliance Appoints New Position to Focus on Individual Secular Activists

COLUMBUS, OH - The Secular Student Alliance announced today that Pete Zupan of Boulder, Colorado has joined the organization as their new Student Program Specialist, a position to further develop individual programs and activism. The position will also focus on strengthening existing normalization programs such as the Secular Safe Zone and Openly Secular as well. 

"We're very excited about hiring a Student Program Specialist," says Lyz Liddell, Director of Campus Organizing, "It's going to give us a much stronger ability to improve our services for our individual members, as well as our alumni. We are committed to supporting secular students all over the country, regardless of their involvement in an affiliate group."

Zupan’s work will primarily focus on individual students, rather than affiliate groups. He will be the primary facilitator for the Secular Safe Zone, a program that trains Allies and Facilitators to create safe spaces for non-theists and encourage acceptance, understanding, and tolerance. Allies are also trained to recognize and respond to issues of discrimination, harassment, and bullying that non-theists may come up against. He will also be working on expanding and improving the Secular Student Alliance’s alumni program.

“Too many secular students have to live in fear of ostracization from their families, peers, and teachers for being who they are,” says Zupan, “It is my hope to alleviate some of that fear by providing students with safe spaces to be themselves and the opportunity to express their beliefs without repercussions.”

Before his hire by the Secular Student Alliance, Zupan was an intern with the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and was Vice-President of the University of Colorado-Boulder Secular Student Alliance affiliate, the Secular Students and Skeptics Society. He was also  a long-time volunteer of the Secular Student Alliance. 

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