Message regarding review of campus event

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While this is a very busy time for the campus as faculty and students end the semester and academic year, it is important to honor the commitment I made to the Colgate community to share what we have learned regarding last week’s campus security incident and how we plan to move forward.

Immediately following the incidents that occurred late in the evening on May 1, I promised to conduct a review of the university actions of that night and return to the community in ten days with the findings of that review. Two senior members of the Colgate administration have spent the last ten days conducting a review of the events that evening on our campus.

This review found that the established protocol for responding to reports of a suspected gunman on campus was indeed followed. One of our highest duties is to keep our campus community safe. In the moment, it was important for Campus Safety to take rapid and visible action, which they did using the protocols that are in place and in accordance with their responsibilities.

The review uncovered mistakes, some significant, which led to misleading and unclear communications being sent to those on the campus, as well as to our off-campus constituencies. There were infrastructure and technology challenges in our communications procedures that impeded internal communications and the management of an emergency situation. These mistakes contributed to a real sense of fear and confusion on the campus. We will be making, as soon as possible, changes to our safety and communications protocols to improve Colgate’s preparedness and response, and to help all members of our campus community stay safe.

The final finding from the review considers the role of bias in the events of that night. The possibility that bias contributed to the events of last week is important for everyone to recognize, although it is difficult to determine and quantify its direct impact or prominence, as the findings suggest.

I will continue to reflect upon and respond to the events of that night, and the larger issues it raised. I welcome your thoughts on these issues as you prepare to end the semester and begin your summer activities.