Comments from Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden - Call with USM Regents on May 31, 2019

Baltimore, Md. (May 31, 2019)—Good afternoon. I appreciate your attendance on this Friday phone call under such short notice.

The tragic loss of Olivia Paregol has been felt throughout our System community. While the feeling of loss is especially acute on the College Park campus, the regents and campus communities throughout our System share in this loss and grieve with the Paregol family.  

On behalf of the board, I have reached out to Olivia’s parents and soon hope to meet with them and share our condolences, our concern, and our plans for moving forward.  Those of us who are parents can only imagine the grief and sorrow they must be experiencing.

As you know, the Regents have been following the situation at College Park very closely—we have already, since December, received three briefings from President Loh and his executive team.  Chancellor Caret has also been in regular and frequent communication with President Loh and has taken steps to ensure that every institution in the University System of Maryland has reviewed policies, processes, and communications related to incidents of infectious diseases and environmental hazards to ensure best practices in responding to these matters.  The System will continue to dedicate funding to residence hall health and safety.  For example, four institutions in our system—College Park, UMBC, Towson and Frostburg—have either approved or already allocated additional funding of more than $255 million toward residence hall health and safety.

Yesterday, we received a request from Governor Hogan to continue our efforts and undertake an independent review of the situation at College Park.  I know the board shares both in the Governor’s sympathy for the family and--given the many questions that continue to be raised—the need for a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding Olivia’s death. Our discussion today, in closed session, will start the process of reviewing and discussing the options for working with President Loh and his executive team to see that there is a thorough, independent and transparent investigation of the work he and his team have done.

Again, our thoughts remain with the Paregol family as we begin this important work.

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719