Findings of the Review of the Events of May 1, 2017 on Colgate

University’s Campus

On May 2, President Brian Casey charged two senior administration members, Kim
Waldron and Christopher Wells, with conducting a review of the May 1 events on the
Colgate campus and providing their findings within ten days. Below is a summary of
the review’s findings, related details and recommendations.
1. Colgate Campus Safety officers acted within established protocols by engaging
law enforcement in response to a report of an armed person.
Campus Safety’s decision to call 911 and engage external police forces, after
receiving a report of a potential armed threat, followed standard university protocol
and was appropriate.
The process to call 911 was initiated within Campus Safety prior to knowledge of
the race of the person reported as potentially armed.
Once law enforcement was called to the scene of a potential emergency on the
campus, these external agencies were in control of the police response.
The university must work more diligently at strengthening our relationship with
and understanding of external agencies.

2. There were significant problems with the university’s emergency response,
particularly with respect to emergency management and the communications to the

There were technical and procedural barriers to effective emergency
communications, and a lack of adequate training in emergency response.
Campus Safety and law enforcement appear to have been aware that they were
dealing with the sighting of a potentially armed person, not an active shooter.
However, some of the alert messages sent to the campus community inaccurately
indicated that Colgate was experiencing an active shooter due to user error within
the RAVE emergency notification system.
The inaccurate designation of the events of the evening as involving an active
shooter was alarming for members of the campus community, especially for many
students of color, who feared that an armed response to an active shooter could
specifically endanger their safety.
The university should conduct a thorough review of emergency management and
response structures, procedures and protocols, and conduct additional training and
preparedness exercises.
The university should provide more information and training for students, faculty
and staff on what to do in emergency situations.
The university should enhance protocols and tools for emergency
communications both within the emergency management structures and to the
campus and off-campus communities.

3. The experiences of these events demonstrate the significant work the university
must do to create and sustain the inclusive environment that will allow all students
to achieve the full potential of a Colgate education.

There is no appropriate way within the timeframe and scope of this investigation
to fully, or even preliminarily, assess the role that bias might have played in the
initial report to Campus Safety of perceptions of an armed person entering the
The university should aggressively consider the ways in which it can shape the
campus environment to minimize the likelihood that members of our community will
be inaccurately perceived as threats.
The university needs to do more to make the Campus Safety department a
resource that can effectively support all members of the community.
The university should provide training to Colgate employees on working with and
serving a diverse community, and recognizing and avoiding racial bias.