April 10, 2013
Dear WSU Community:
It has been more than a week since WSU faculty member Dr. David Warner was brutally beaten in
the parking lot at Adams Mall on College Hill. He remains in critical condition at Sacred
Heart Medical Center in Spokane, but by all reports, is making slow and steady progress. Our
prayers for healing and full recovery continue for him and his family.
The Pullman Police Department continues to work on identifying and arresting suspects. In an
effort to assist the investigation, I personally have donated a total of $10,000 to a reward
fund being administered by Washington State University Police Chief Bill Gardner in
conjunction with the Pullman Police Department. Others can donate to the reward fund by
contacting Chief Gardner. That money will go to the individual or individuals who provide
information that leads to the apprehension and prosecution of those responsible for the attack
against Dr. Warner.
I strongly encourage anyone who knows anything about what happened that night or recognizes
any of the individuals in the videos that have been publicly distributed to come forward. The
police have no interest in arresting anyone who was not directly involved in the assault and
will accept information anonymously. You can share information by calling the Pullman Police
Department “Tip Us Off” message line at 509-334-2249 or the general line at
509-334-0802. Details of the attack as well as video from surveillance cameras are available
Just as disturbing as the horrible injuries that Dr. Warner suffered in the attack is the pall
of silence that has ensued in its aftermath. That cowardice does not accurately reflect who we
are as a community. Cougs helping Cougs is not an empty slogan; it is a culture we embrace and
aspire to improve. The success of the online fundraising campaign created to help cover Dr.
Warner’s medical expenses is strong evidence of that caring. You can make a donation for
that purpose here.
As an educational institution, it is our responsibility to provide an environment where all
students feel safe, an environment conducive to learning and success. Dr. Warner’s
attack has revealed an underlying fear and anger among some on campus regarding issues of race
and marginalization. These must be addressed. I am creating a new Commission on Campus Climate
to give shape to the discourse and to develop specific action steps to improving the
situation. I can assure you, this will not be “yet another task force.” The
commission will be charged with pulling us together as a community to address a complex issue
and explore possible long-term solutions. I am confident it will prove a significant step
forward that might help heal old wounds and create new possibilities. I will announce a chair
for the group as soon as possible. Please send your nominations for the other members of the
group to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.