Update on recent events

Nov. 22, 2017

Dear Brandeis Community,

I wanted to follow up on our communications with you yesterday in the aftermath of the armed robbery and lockdown that took place on campus overnight on Nov 21. While we must respect student privacy, I want our community to be as fully informed as possible as to what happened, how we responded and will continue to respond, and to clear up some misinformation.

As our campus safety leadership communicated yesterday, the robbery by two individuals who were not members of the Brandeis community took place in a room in an East Quad residence hall, and our Campus Police responded along with the Waltham Police Department. As would always be the case for a significant criminal incident, our sworn police force worked together with Waltham Police, in this case jointly conducting a search of the campus and surrounding areas. Our investigation with Waltham Police continues.

As we also communicated yesterday, the incident did not appear to be random and we believe there is no further threat to our campus. One student was immediately placed on emergency suspension and is barred from the Brandeis campus and any off-campus Brandeis events. Two other students involved are subject to additional questioning and possible referral to the university’s disciplinary process. Due to student privacy regulations, I am unable to be more explicit about the nature of the activity leading to the suspension and disciplinary process. But everyone should understand that we take the safety of our students and community very seriously, and anyone whose activities cause risk to our campus will face potential discipline up to and including expulsion.

There has been speculation on social media, and I have received questions, about a possible link between this robbery and the bomb threat we experienced in August. Let me be clear: there is absolutely no link. An individual who is suspected of making numerous bomb threats to the Waltham Public Schools in the summer and early fall, in addition to the threat that required an evacuation here at Brandeis, was arrested in October. Since that arrest, there have been no additional bomb threats made in Waltham. I also want to be clear that there is no connection between this incident and the tragic, off-campus death of a Brandeis International Business School graduate student last weekend.

Like all institutions that seek to be accessible to the world, we value both security and openness. With that in mind, I want you to know the following:

As many members of our community prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I am grateful for the work of our safety and residential leadership on campus who responded to this incident. I wish all our students, staff, and faculty safe travels, and we look forward to the resumption of classes on Monday.


Ron Liebowitz