Eric M. Heath and Michele Rasmussen: Steps In Advance of Trial Verdict

October 5, 2018

To: Members of the University Community
From: Eric Heath, Associate Vice President for Safety & Security, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Steps in advance of trial verdict
Date: October 5, 2018

As the trial of Jason Van Dyke for the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald nears a conclusion, we recognize the range and depth of emotions for members of the University community, and considerations that some have raised about reports of planned demonstrations regardless of the verdict.

While we have no indication at this point that responses to the trial might pose a safety issue on or near our campus, the University is committed to maintain the safety of our campus and neighboring communities. We will work to ensure that people can continue to express themselves peacefully concerning the trial and other important issues, recognizing that the values of free expression and open discourse have stood as a foundation of this University since its inception. The University convened an Oct. 3 panel discussion on important issues related to the trial, led by the School of Social Service Administration, and will hold another event once the trial is complete.

Additional steps and available resources in the coming days will include:

  • The Department of Safety and Security is monitoring and working closely with the City of Chicago, is prepared to quickly increase staffing if the need arises, and will update our community on any potential impact on safety or travel access to our campus or downtown locations.
  • Trained Deans-on-Call and other personnel in Campus and Student Life are available to facilitate an environment of civility and free expression for any protest activity on campus.
  • Counseling is available for students at UChicago as well as affiliated schools, offering support around issues that the trial has raised.

We will continue to provide any necessary updates if circumstances warrant.  For student questions, please contact Quick access to contact information for security and related services is available through the DSS mobile app or the DSS website: