Yesterday's events and evaluating the university's response

Aug. 24, 2017

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Now that normal operations have resumed on campus, and as we prepare for the start of the new academic year, I wanted to share with you some additional observations about yesterday's bomb threat—what we learned, and how we can do better in the future. Thanks to those of you who wrote to me with observations and suggestions.

I want to assure the community that the threat we received yesterday is being actively investigated. Many of you have asked if there was any reason or motivation stated in the threat. I want to let you know that there was no reason or motivation given, including any mention of either anti-Semitic or racist sentiment. 

While the entire community acted responsibly and in concert yesterday, we are well aware that there is always room for improvement. Toward that goal, I met both yesterday and today with our Incident Command Team for discussions of specific areas to address. We learned that some members of our community did not receive the message through the Brandeis Emergency Notification System (BENS). Others received an email but not a phone call, even for some who had signed up to be notified in this manner as well. We also learned that not every building occupant was notified as police attempted to ensure that the campus was evacuated. Some community members with disabilities were not given the special attention that they deserve. And, the traffic flow off campus was slower than it should have been, causing significant delays. We will explore more efficient ways for vehicles to leave north campus, and, in the process, coordinate more closely with the Waltham Police Department.

We will work to address these and other legitimate concerns, and we will continue our practice of holding trainings and drills on campus. I am extremely proud of all of you and the team that worked so selflessly and effectively yesterday to ensure everyone's safety. It was not a flawless incident response, but we will learn from it and be even better prepared going forward.

Best regards,