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Dear ARHU Community,

We are all still reeling in response to the horrific murder of Lieutenant Richard Collins III, a Bowie State University student who was fatally stabbed on our campus Saturday in a possible hate crime. I am writing, first to honor Mr. Collins and to express sympathy to his family, friends and classmates. I also want to address the meaning and implications of this for our campus.

I personally struggle to imagine what the Collins family is going through, having the arduous task of preparing for a funeral rather than celebrating their son’s recent promotion to second lieutenant in the U.S. Army or joyfully watching him walk across the stage at Bowie State University’s graduation ceremony. I have been asked, “What can we do to support this family?”  As a small gesture, I have agreed to collect cards, letters, poems, drawings and other expressions of condolence from members of our community for the Collins family. If you are so inclined, please bring these messages of comfort to the dean's office by Tuesday, May 30 and we will see that they are delivered as a package to the family.

On the campus, this murder compels us to action. We will begin this process in different ways but I urge each of us to start by seeking deeper knowledge of current and historical conditions that gave rise to this incident and by using that knowledge to better understand how our campus could become the site of senseless violence and hatred at the same time that we’re actively engaged in practices designed to promote inclusive excellence. Hopefully, these insights and our expertise in making sense of the human condition, hideous and beautiful, will inform and guide us in speaking out against hatred, inequality and injustice and in implementing new strategies to help make this a safe and supportive place of learning for all students, faculty and staff, especially those from groups that have been harassed and excluded.

As dean, I am committed to using this event as a reminder of the work we still have to do. I encourage you to refer to the campus resources provided for this tragedy to help as you examine these issues and think about specific steps we may be able to implement this fall—as a college and as individuals—to heal and enhance our community.

For details on the case and plans for campus action, please see President Loh’s email below or the numerous local and national news outlets covering the investigation.


Bonnie Thornton Dill
Professor and Dean