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ND president: 'We failed to keep him safe'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The president of the University of Notre Dame sent an e-mail to students, faculty, staff and alumni Friday saying that the school is responsible for a student videographer's death because it failed to protect him.

"Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe," the Rev. John Jenkins wrote. "We at Notre Dame and ultimately I, as president are responsible. Words cannot express our sorrow to the Sullivan family and to all involved."

Declan Sullivan, 20, a student videographer from Long Grove, was killed Oct. 27 when a hydraulic lift he was on toppled while he was filming football practice. The National Weather Service reported gusts of up to 51 mph at the time. The school and state regulators are investigating the accident.

Jenkins also voiced support for football coach Brian Kelly, who has said it was his decision to hold practice outdoors on the day that Sullivan died.

"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," he said. "For those reasons, I am confident that Coach Kelly has a bright future leading our football program."

Jenkins said the loss of any student is always a cause for great sadness, but said Sullivan's loss was especially hard.

"This loss is more devastating, for Declan died in a tragic accident while in our care," he wrote. "For that, I am profoundly sorry." AP