Memorandum May 22, 2017
- AU Community
- Neil Kerwin, President
- Effect of a Recent Local Tragedy
A nearby tragedy at the University of Maryland early Saturday morning is weighing heavily on many of us. A graduating senior at Bowie State University with a promising future was murdered in College Park in a senseless act of violence. A University of Maryland student is being held and charged with the murder. Hate bias is being investigated as the motive, enveloping those two campus communities in shock, anger, fear and grief.
Given the hate crime that occurred on our own campus on May 1, it is understandable that this horrible event would raise anxiety and concern in our own community. I want to provide you with both reassurance and support.
Since three weeks have passed and the semester has ended, I know there are concerns that the investigation of the hate crime on our campus has stalled or that our sense of urgency may be lost. However, as I reminded the community during commencement ceremonies, we will not rest until those responsible have been identified and brought to justice.
The American University Police Department (AUPD) continues to work with law enforcement partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States District Attorney’s office. We will need to exercise patience and resolve while we allow law enforcement officials the time they need to conduct a thorough investigation. To the extent possible, the university will provide periodic updates, but I hope all understand that comments on the status of the investigation will be limited. Meanwhile, AUPD has stepped up visibility and maintains its vigilance for public safety on the campus, and offers a host of resources and services for members of the community to enhance their personal safety. Students needing support are encouraged to contact the Counseling Center. Faculty and staff are urged to contact the Faculty Staff Assistance Program for short-term counseling support. Moreover, all of us should take a moment to check in and offer support to colleagues, especially during this, Staff Appreciation Week. Finally, university leaders are working over the summer with members of the community to review many ideas that have been raised for additional, effective new efforts to enhance inclusion and improve the campus climate. In that regard, President-designate Burwell joins me in the commitment to rededicate our community to that purpose.