Dear University community,

As we come to the end of another academic year, I wish all Cougs a safe summer. Our students, faculty, staff, and visitors are the University’s chief and most precious assets. Concerns for your safety extend not only to when you are on campus, but also to your journey home and to other destinations as you participate in summer activities.

In late February, I personally recommitted to making safety one of our highest institutional priorities. We are working harder than ever to prevent accidents and incidents, integrate health and safety into all phases of operations, and respond to concerns about health and safety.

As part of this reaffirmation, an institutional Safety Committee was formed in February. The committee meets regularly and already has conducted an initial assessment of our safety operations.

WSU Vice President for Research Chris Keane and Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration Olivia Yang lead the committee, which also includes the Chancellors and other top administrative and academic leaders. The team will dedicate this summer to completing further assessments and laying out early plans of actions to strengthen the culture of safety at WSU.

In addition, we continue to collaborate with concerned parents and citizens and work with the Washington Department of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol in response to the two tragic traffic accidents that claimed the lives of students Christine Hunter and Morgan Cope and seriously injured another student during Thanksgiving break.

We still deeply grieve the loss of these two young lives. I hope you will join me in doubling down and employing safe driving behaviors as you travel this summer:

  • Keep both hands on the wheel, always.
  • Never use your cell phone while driving—pull over if you need to text or take a call.
  • Buckle up—not using a seatbelt is still the number one reason for death in a traffic accident.
  • Don’t eat or snack while driving.
  • Don’t drive when tired and don’t speed—if you are passing a slower vehicle, be mindfully cautious and careful in your judgment.
  • And, never drink and drive. Ever.

Because Cougs take care of Cougs, please watch our safety video. Created with the help of Butch T. Cougar and many of our students, it will inspire you to be safe—and stay safe—while on the road.