CWU News

Message from the President: Keeping Campus Safe

Dear CWU community,

As many of you are aware, a distressing event occurred on the Ellensburg campus Saturday evening, resulting in the temporary lockdown of the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC). 

Thanks to the courage and quick thinking of the students who were in the building at the time — and the subsequent law enforcement response — the suspect responsible for the temporary closure was isolated and taken into protective custody. 

I recognize that a number of CWU students and staff members may still be experiencing emotional trauma after what unfolded. We have set up a network of counselors to help those individuals who need assistance.

I cannot express how thankful I am to our emergency response team, who worked together throughout the evening to ensure the safety of our students and staff. The CWU Police Department, with support from the Ellensburg Police Department and the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, kept the situation from escalating, and our emergency communications team provided regular updates to the campus community and the public at-large.

I also deeply appreciate the courage and resiliency of our students and employees who responded in such a way that the situation was contained. 

Those who were not directly affected by Saturday’s incident were advised via social media and the CWU Rave Alert system to avoid the SURC and surrounding areas until the situation could be resolved. The campus was notified around 10 p.m. that the suspect was in custody. The SURC has resumed normal operations today.

In times like these, I am mindful of the importance of community and the way in which we take care of each other. We must acknowledge the significant role that our mental health professionals and police officers play in this culture of care, and we must recognize our own part in creating a world that is more soulful, more caring, more sacred.

We always hope these types of incidents won’t occur, but when they do, it’s comforting to know that CWU has a well-trained and dedicated team that knows how to respond and keep everyone safe. This is, and always will be, our priority here at Central. 


Jim Wohlpart