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Cash reward, new commission aimed at healing, moving forward

April 10, 2013

It has been more than a week since WSU faculty member Dr. David Warner was brutally beaten in the parking lot at Adams Mall on College Hill. He remains in critical condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, but by all reports, is making slow and steady progress. Our prayers for healing and full recovery continue for him and his family.

The Pullman Police Department continues to work on identifying and arresting suspects. In an effort to assist the investigation, I personally have donated a total of $10,000 to a reward fund being administered by Washington State University Police Chief Bill Gardner in conjunction with the Pullman Police Department. Others can donate to the reward fund by contacting Chief Gardner. That money will go to the individual or individuals who provide information that leads to the apprehension and prosecution of those responsible for the attack against Dr. Warner.

I strongly encourage anyone who knows anything about what happened that night or recognizes any of the individuals in the videos that have been publicly distributed to come forward. The police have no interest in arresting anyone who was not directly involved in the assault and will accept information anonymously. You can share information by calling the Pullman Police Department “Tip Us Off” message line at (509) 334-2249 or the general line at (509) 334-0802. Details of the attack as well as video from surveillance cameras are available here.

Just as disturbing as the horrible injuries that Dr. Warner suffered in the attack is the pall of silence that has ensued in its aftermath. That cowardice does not accurately reflect who we are as a community. Cougs helping Cougs is not an empty slogan; it is a culture we embrace and aspire to improve. The success of the online fundraising campaign created to help cover Dr. Warner’s medical expenses is strong evidence of that caring. You can make a donation for that purpose here.

As an educational institution, it is our responsibility to provide an environment where all students feel safe, an environment conducive to learning and success. Dr. Warner’s attack has revealed an underlying fear and anger among some on campus regarding issues of race and marginalization. These must be addressed. I am creating a new Commission on Campus Climate to give shape to the discourse and to develop specific action steps to improving the situation. I can assure you, this will not be “yet another task force.”  The commission will be charged with pulling us together as a community to address a complex issue and explore possible long-term solutions. I am confident it will prove a significant step forward that might help heal old wounds and create new possibilities. I will announce a chair for the group as soon as possible. Please send your nominations for the other members of the group to me at floyde@wsu.edu. Thank you.