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Notre Dame Takes Responsibility For Declan Sullivan's Death: 'We Are Responsible'

On Friday afternoon, Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins sent an e-mail to his school's students to address the tragic accident that claimed the life of 20-year-old Declan Sullivan. On October 27, Sullivan was filming a Notre Dame football practice from a film tower in hazardous winds when the tower toppled over. In the e-mail, Jenkins explicitly assigned responsibility for the accident to Notre Dame.

We are conducting an investigation and we must be careful not to pre-judge its results, but I will say this: Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe. We at Notre Dame - and ultimately I, as President - are responsible. Words cannot express our sorrow to the Sullivan family and to all involved.

In the aftermath of the accident, some blamed coach Brian Kelly, who made the decision to practice outdoors rather than in the program's indoor facility. Jenkins also states in the e-mail that he stands firmly behind Kelly.

Finally, in light of what I believe to be unfounded and unfair commentary and speculation, I want to say something about Coach Brian Kelly. Coach Kelly was hired not only because of his football expertise, but because we believed his character and values accord with the highest standards of Notre Dame. All we have seen since he came to Notre Dame, and everything we have learned in our investigation to date, have confirmed that belief. For those reasons I am confident that Coach Kelly has a bright future leading our football program.

Jenkins also noted that the school is still conducting an investigation which may lead to institutional ramifications and changes in safety-related policies, but did not say when he expected the investigation to be finished.