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Notre Dame president acknowledges responsibility in death of student

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The President of Notre Dame University said that he is ultimately responsible for the death of student Declan Sullivan. Sullivan was filming the football team practicing from a high tower during a wind storm where the wind gusts reached in excess of 50 miles per hour. When the tower fell over Sullivan was killed. The announcement from the president came in the form of an email to students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“Entrusted to our care”

The email stated: “Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe. We at Notre Dame and ultimately I, as President are responsible. Words cannot express our sorrow to the Sullivan family and to all involved.”

Reverend John Jenkins, the president of the university, also went on to give his support to the football coach, Brian Kelly. Kelly had stated previously that it was his decision to have practice outdoors during the high winds.

Sullivan was a student videographer who had previously filmed football practices and other events around campus. He died on October 27 when he went up in a hydraulic lift to film the football practice. Eerily, earlier in the day Sullivan had updated his Twitter account by saying that he was afraid to go up in the lift due to the high winds. He ended the tweet by saying, “well, I guess I’ve lived long enough.”

During the time when the hydraulic lift toppled over the winds across the field were clocked at about 51 mph. The entire incident is still being investigated by state regulators and university officials. The state of Indiana is looking into whether or not federal and state workplace safety regulations were violated. This would include a federal regulation that prohibits workers from working on scaffolding during high winds or storms.

Funeral services were held for Sullivan this past Monday. The funeral was held at the St. Mary Catholic Church in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The university held a memorial mass for Sullivan the day after the accident.

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