Dear faculty, staff and students,
It has been more than three and a half years since the life of First Lieutenant Richard W.Collins III was senselessly taken on our campus. As a community, we remain deeply affected by the tragic loss. An accomplished Bowie State University student, Lt. Collins was commissioned to serve in the United States Army before his death.
Today, Sean Urbanski, a former UMD student, was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Lt. Collins, a crime that many considered to be motivated by hate. The case led to changes in how hate-motivated crimes are prosecuted in the state of Maryland. On October 1, 2020, Maryland’s hate crime law expanded to allow prosecution of hate crimes if the crimes were "motivated either in whole or in substantial part by" hate or bias, as opposed to just "sole" motivation, as previously required. The law is named after Lt. Richard Collins III.
Our hearts are with Richard and Dawn Collins and the entire Collins family on this day, and we are grateful that they continue to work closely with us through the recently launched Social Justice Alliance, a partnership between the University of Maryland and Bowie State University.
On a personal note, I am deeply affected by the magnitude of this tragedy. I know many of you feel the same. I encourage you to engage in the work of the Social Justice Alliance and in other efforts to combat racial injustice.
We will carry forward the memory of Lt. Collins as we make plans for a physical memorial on campus to commemorate his life and memory. We are currently working with the Collins family on its location and design. At the appropriate time, we will communicate to our campus community about the memorial site.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland