President Bollinger’s Message Regarding the Tragic Accident in Honduras

January 14, 2016

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am very sorry to report that, earlier today, three members of the Columbia community died in a bus accident in Honduras. Columbia College student Olivia Erhardt and Barnard College student Daniella Moffson lost their lives while volunteering for the Columbia chapter of Global Brigades, an organization providing medical and other support to struggling populations around the world. Also lost in the accident was Abigail Flanagan, a nurse practitioner at Columbia University Medical Center and a General Studies student, who was a member of this humanitarian effort. This terrible and tragic loss is all the greater because these individuals were dedicating their passion and very special talents to serving those in need. No endeavor more proudly exemplifies the traditions and values of our University.  

Other Columbia students were injured in the bus accident. We are working to ensure that they are receiving all necessary medical attention. Dr. Samuel Seward, Medical Director for Health Services, and other Columbia support personnel are on their way now to Honduras. The students who were not badly injured and who are able to return to the United States are in the process of doing so. We have contacted the families of all involved and are closely monitoring the situation to render all the help we can.

We are all deeply affected by this tragic event. Counselors and specialists on the Columbia MorningsideBarnard, and Columbia University Medical Center campuses, as well as pastoral counseling through the Office of the University Chaplain, are available.  International students also can seek support or referrals through the International Students and Scholars Office. Please take advantage of these services. 

Our thoughts are especially with the students and their families who have suffered as a result of this accident.


Lee C. Bollinger

Contact information for support services is included in the links above or the following phone numbers:

Counseling and Psychological Services, 8th Floor Lerner Hall
(212) 854-2878

Office of the University Chaplain
(212) 854-1493

School of General Studies, Office of the Dean of Students
(212) 854-2881