Office of the President

February 7, 2019

A tragic accident and a loss to our community *UPDATED*

Ana Mari Cauce

***UPDATE, February 8, 2019 ***

As we learned yesterday, the King County Medical Examiner has concluded that this terrible tragedy was the result of natural causes – a blood clot that led to a pulmonary embolism – and that the conditions on the pathway were not a factor in Hayley Smith’s death. This does nothing, however, to diminish our grief for her loss or heartbreak for her family. We also remain vigilant about prioritizing student and community safety as we prepare for more severe weather in the coming days. Please be aware that Seattle campus operations are suspended as of 12:30 p.m. today.

Original Post

We are all in shock and sadness over the death of a UW student after a tragic fall on the Seattle campus yesterday. I have spoken with the student’s father and my heart is with her grieving family and friends and all who knew her.

Support and resources

Service to connect anyone with concerns about safety with the right resources

UW Counseling Center
Multiple options for students seeking help coping with stress and mental health concerns

Let’s Talk
Free, confidential, informal drop-in counseling service

Hall Health
UW center with a range of services to assess and treat mental health concerns

This was a tragic accident, one that is felt very personally by me and all the UW staff who work to keep our campus safe, every day. Resources for anyone who needs support are linked in the sidebar.

The decision to operate or suspend operations on our campus during inclement weather is ultimately my responsibility. It is made after careful assessment and deliberations with our facilities managers and the safety of our campus community is always the determining factor. By Wednesday, we determined that campus operations could resume. It is important to note that as a public, residential space, our campus is never “closed” and that there will always be people on the grounds. Our crews work around the clock to keep our campus roads and sidewalks as clear of snow and ice as possible, regardless of whether normal operations are suspended.

With more snow in the forecast, we are already assessing campus conditions — the safety of our community will continue to be our priority. If you know of, or become aware of places on campus where additional clearing or signage is needed, UW Facilities asks that you contact their customer care team to identify areas to service. I also encourage everyone to sign up for UW Alerts for updates and notifications about campus safety.

The weather conditions we are experiencing are unusual and challenging for Seattle due to the combination of snow and below-freezing temperatures that prevent a full melt. Please take extra precautions, move a little slower, have patience with delays and watch out for your friends and colleagues.

Please do know that we are doing, and will continue to do, all that we can to keep you and all who visit our campus as safe as possible.