As the University of the Incarnate Word approaches the first anniversary of the tragic death of student Cameron Redus, we remember in our thoughts and prayers Cameron, his family and his UIW friends affected by the events of December 6, 2013. Our community has been deeply impacted by Cameron’s death and we have responded honestly to questions and concerns raised throughout this year.
We have engaged in dialogue with many groups within the University, including student leaders, the UIW Police Department, the Faculty Senate, and administrative leaders who work with our students. As a result, we have made important changes in the direction and leadership of the UIWPD including, naming a new police chief, hiring new members of the department, enhancing communication for evening/weekend calls, and putting a greater emphasis on community policing. Most recently, the UIWPD was an integral partner with the students in the successful National Night Out event on campus. The goal of these changes is to enhance the accessibility and visibility of those charged with protecting our students first and foremost. The UIW police, like everyone on campus, are committed to the educational and spiritual mission of our University and strive to exercise their responsibilities with the same diligence and commitment as all our employees. We remain committed to further and ongoing changes that will clarify and improve their work. We likewise remain committed to educating students about the responsible use of alcohol.
As you know, the University of the Incarnate Word is involved in a lawsuit filed by the Redus family. This will be a lengthy process that will involve many procedural steps. Most recently, UIW requested the federal court consider whether this case should be heard in federal jurisdiction given the allegations made in the lawsuit. After the federal judge stated that UIW had “reasonable basis” for its request, the judge returned the case to the state court. The outcome of the hearings was neither a victory nor a loss for the University, but rather one more step which narrows and clarifies the issues along the way to the ultimate resolution of the suit. Given the nature and complexity of litigation, this case will remain open for a lengthy period of time and will draw media attention each step of the way.
Recently, questions have been raised about the sound recording that was created by the device that Officer Carter was wearing at the time of the shooting. There is a fundamental misunderstanding about that recording that should be clarified. The University has always been in possession of the digital recording. The University, upon requests from the Alamo Heights Police Department and the Texas Rangers provided copies of the recording to these police agencies as part of their investigation. These agencies directed UIW not to release the recording during their investigation. These agencies, in turn, provided the recording to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. In response to the Redus request for the recording, the Bexar County District Attorney directed UIW not to release the recording to the Reduses, or anyone else. Accordingly, UIW filed a Motion for Protective Order with the federal court requesting that the Court allow us to provide the recording to the parties in this case. The motion further asks the court to establish parameters for distribution to persons not connected to this lawsuit.
After a year of waiting, the D.A. has yet to send the investigation to the Grand Jury. This has not served anyone concerned with this case, however, we remain confident that the Grand Jury will address these issues responsibly. The Redus family recently urged the District Attorney to move this case to a resolution, and UIW respectfully joins in their request.
Finally, we are grateful to our colleagues in UIW’s Mission and Ministry who have led us prayerfully through this emotional crisis. They have reached out to so many members of our community torn by Cameron’s tragic death, including members of the UIW Campus Police Department, Convergent Media Department, Athletics, and student leadership. We continue to offer our prayers and condolences to the Redus family. Our community will remember Cameron this weekend and pray for all who were touched by this terrible event.