The University Record, October 1, 1997

Saddened, grim-faced administrators faced the media

Harrison (right) and Department of Public
Safety Director Leo Heatley at the media briefing.

'I want to express first and foremost our deep sense of grief and the sadness that the entire University community feels upon hearing of the death of Tamara Williams, a talented and gifted senior at the University. This is a loss for the entire University of Michigan. All of us grieve with her family during this very sad period.'

--Walter Harrison, vice president for university relations

Harford (left) with Royster Harper, dean of
students. Harper came directly to the media briefing
from visiting with Tamara Williams' mother. She said
the two talked 'about the things you talk about when
mothers lose their daughters.'

'This has been an act of violence that makes no sense to any of us. It's not part of what we believe in at the University of Michigan, and violates our whole sense of community. It's a piece that we'd like to spend sometime thinking and grieving about as a community. I hope you will understand and respect that.

'Though this is an act of violence against one person, the whole community feels it.'

--Maureen A. Hartford, vice president for student affairs

'What is most striking and painful about this is the young woman and the community responded in the best possible way we know of at this time. We have lost a very valuable citizen of our society, 20 years old, about to graduate, which means she is one of our best and brightest.'

The responses of neighbors and the Department of Public Safety 'show the result of years of getting the message across htat violence under any circumstances is not accepted, and will not be allowed. And the message has gone out, indicating to potential victims and their assailants that this is behavior we will not tolerate in society and specifically here at the University of Michigan.

'We need to continue to get the message out that it is not acceptable for anyone to be intimidated or controlled or coerced or forced into any behavior they are not comfortable with.'

Patricia Coleman-Burns, assistant professor of nursing and director, multicultural affairs, School of Nursing, and co-chair, Task Force on Violence Against Women on Campus

Coleman-Burns (left) with WDIV-TV's Bob Bennett at the Sept. 24 media briefing.

To see photos of the Diag Vigil last Thursday, go to: