January 24, 2014
Dear Purdue faculty, staff and students,
The crime committed on Purdue's West Lafayette campus this week has left us all stunned and saddened, but typical of Boilermakers, people have pulled together to support each other and demonstrate what a remarkably caring and compassionate community ours is. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the parents and family of Andrew Boldt and to all those affected by this tragic event.
I think I speak for everyone at Purdue when I offer a heartfelt thank you to the first responders, police officers, firefighters and many others from on campus and beyond for their quick response and the professional actions of the day; to Purdue's faculty, staff and students for their cooperation and warm support for each other; and to the many alumni, parents, retirees and friends who have sent their messages of care and concern to campus.
In particular, I want to thank the students who so quickly organized the candlelight vigil on the Purdue Mall. They showed the world just who we are, a Boilermaker family that cares deeply about each individual member and whose values of compassion and care can be counted on in time of tragedy.
As Purdue's president, but even more so as a parent myself, I assure you that our students' safety and security is the single highest priority on our campus. I have received a full briefing on the public safety and alert-system responses to Tuesday's incident from the Purdue police and fire chiefs, the provost and other members of the university's leadership. We have a good understanding of the many actions and protocols that went as they should have, and have identified others that could benefit from review or revision.
A year-and-a-half ago, upon accepting Purdue's presidency and months before taking office, the very first briefing I requested was with our public safety officials. I reviewed statistics on criminal and all other safety-related events, and one fact stood out clearly: Purdue is an extraordinarily safe place. Compared with cities of Purdue's population (ca. 50,000), we experience a tiny fraction of the violent and property crime. Viewed another way, despite being among the nation's largest universities, data show that Purdue is among the safest, including within the Big Ten.
Any tragedy of the kind we experienced on Tuesday is unacceptable, and as our review of the current incident proceeds, we will listen carefully and receptively to suggestions. Whatever improvements of process or policy may surface will be swiftly and thoroughly implemented.
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.