On Tuesday, January 15th, a student shot the Director of Financial Aid, Greg Elsenrath, at the Stevens Institute for Business and the Arts in the chest before he turned the gun on himself. It has been reported that the Director was attempting to follow up with the student concerning conflicting information. Thankfully, both men survived.
In light of this horrific event, it conjures up for all of us the many times we have encountered students and their families where emotions flared. We are required—mandated to follow up on conflicting information. Our positions compel us to have difficult conversations where we discuss confidential and sensitive information on a daily basis. Financial stress often brings out sides of people we don’t often see publicly in other administrative offices. However, it happens more often in Financial Aid than we would like. Because of it’s frequency, it is concerning how so many of us become desensitized by this behavior. We become more adept at dealing with confrontation and forget that sometimes we could, in fact, be in danger. As we continue to think about Greg and his family as he recovers, we encourage you to have an open discussion within the Office of Financial Aid as well as your larger campus community about how we should deal with these possibilities. A crisis management plan should be in place, both to support you when you feel at risk and to assist you if the risk ever materializes.
Please continue to keep Greg and the Stevens Institute community of St. Louis, Missouri in your thoughts during this troubling time.
For more information about developing a crisis management plan, the following link may prove helpful: www.universitybusiness.com/article/higher-educations-911-crisis-management
 “Greg Elsenrath, SIBA shooting victim, well-known in Winfield community.” A Gannett Company: KSDK, 15 JAN 2013. Web. 18 Jan 2013. <http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/357213/3/Shooting-victim-Husband-and-father-of-2>