The death of a young student, Declan Sullivan, who fell from a TV tower while filming Notre Dame practise on Ocotber 27, was the fault of many at Notre Dame and not one individual, an investigation has found.
Sullivan a film student from Long Grove, Illinois died when the forty foot hydraulic lift toppled in gusty winds.
The college itself carried out the investigation helped by outside experts which among other findings stated that "The college used out of date weather reports that day. which showed weather conditions would be no more than 29 miles an hour. They missed a later bulletin that showed winds close to 60 mph.
The gust that tipped the lift was a freakish wind, calculated at close to 60 miles per hour and extremely unusual for the South Bend area,
None of the three people most involved in advising football coach Brian Kelly on weather conditions outside, Chad Klunder, then-head athletic trainer Jim Russ and Tim Collins, director of football video and film advised him that it was unsafe to practice outside.
"Ultimately, no one – not Collins, Klunder, nor Russ – told Kelly or any coach that practice should be held indoors or that the lifts should not be used," the report says.
The lift that fell, a Marklift, is structurally different than two other lifts used that day and more susceptible to tipping.
The height of the lift at the time of the accident--it was close to maximum extension was also a cause.
Peter Likins, an engineer and former University of Arizona president independently reviewed the findings and stated that"Though a needless loss of life cries out for one to shoulder blame, the facts here do not support any single individual finding of fault," he wrote.
The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, said in the report that he took responsibility
"Many individuals and departments share the collective responsibility for the inadequacy of the procedures that led to this tragedy," Jenkins wrote. "The university, then, is collectively responsible.
Insofar as the president is responsible for the University as a whole, I am the individual who bears the most responsibility, and I accept that responsibility.
The report quotes Sullivan as telling the assistant video coordinator Reuel Joaquin "Aw, man, this sucks," when told the practice was outdoors that day. He also tweeted that the weather was "terrifying" and wrote : "Gusts of wind up to 60 mph today will be fun at work ... I guess I've lived long enough."Student videographers indicated their belief that the tweets likely reflected his joking nature, adding that his use of that word (“terrifying”)was common," the report said.
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