CU-Denver silence on movie shooting suspect carries risks

August 2, 2012

Last week University of Colorado at Denver officials assured reporters that students and professors were free to talk about James Holmes, the former graduate student charged in the fatal cinema shooting, then officials sent an e-mail thanking people for refusing to talk. Officials later amended that in a follow-up e-mail, stating that "it is your right to speak to whomever you wish." The reversals underscore the forces buffeting CU-Denver after the attack that police tie to Holmes. The university could face lawsuits; Aurora police told campus officials not to disclose details that might hinder the investigation; and a judge ordered the university not to release public records on Holmes. A crisis communications expert says CU-Denver's reluctance to explain how it handled Holmes, who was treated by a campus psychiatrist, carries risks. "In the absence of clarity, the public's imagination runs wild," he says. Associated Press