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Daniel Williams: update from Acting Vice-Chancellor

Daniel Williams

Message from Acting Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort to all staff

Dear colleagues,

Further to yesterday’s news that Thames Valley Police had discovered a body in their search for Daniel Williams, our Computer Science student who has been missing since Thursday, formal identification has now confirmed, sadly, that this was Daniel.  Our thoughts are with Daniel’s family and friends at this very difficult time.

There is nothing harder for our community than the death of one of our own and we are committed to supporting our students and colleagues in every way we can. The University will stay open this week, with teaching and most other scheduled activities going ahead as planned. While I believe this provides our community with an opportunity to come together and support each other, I fully understand if you personally do not feel able to participate. We will all be experiencing different emotions and we will respect your decision. If you are taking part in scheduled activities, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect – for example at the start of a lecture or a meeting – and offer support to each other.

I would like to invite you to attend a gathering in Daniel’s memory, on Thursday 7 February at 5.15pm in RUSU’s 3sixty. RUSU will remain open until 8pm as a space for students and colleagues to spend time with one another.

A book of condolence will be available at tomorrow’s gathering and in RUSU for the coming weeks. If you wish to, you are also very welcome to leave flowers at the dedicated site outside RUSU.

We have set up a dedicated webpage for students to provide information on the range of support services available at this time. Please share the webpage with any students who have been affected.

If you would like someone to talk to, please do contact your line manager or use our Employee Assistance Programme, Confidential Care. This hotline provides a comprehensive range of support and advice to all colleagues. It is an independent and confidential service, available any time of day or night, 365 days a year.

I am aware that a number of students have raised concerns with regards to safety around the lake. We cannot speculate about any of the circumstances surrounding Daniel’s death and we will continue to support any further investigations. However, any concerns raised will be reviewed, along with outcomes from the Police investigation, and will inform any appropriate action that we take. I understand that there is a petition calling for improved lighting on campus and I have invited the students involved to meet me to discuss their concerns further.

The police restrictions around the lake area have been removed. However, our Security Service will continue their normal overnight campus patrols, supported by the Police at least until the weekend. Our Security Service can be reached 24-hours a day in emergencies on 0118 378 6300 and on 0118 378 7799 for general enquiries. The team also provide a Chaperone Service for students.

Kind regards,


Professor Robert Van de Noort

Acting Vice-Chancellor

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