Bonfire Suit Settlement Announcement
The following is an official university statement concerning settlement of the state court Bonfire lawsuit directly naming Texas A&M University and current and former university employees as parties.
“Texas A&M University has entered into an agreement resolving all remaining plaintiffs’ claims against former and current University employees in the State litigation which arose from the collapse of the Bonfire stack on the University’s campus in November of 1999. While the University has actively contested the claim that the University employees were legally responsible for the deaths and injuries that occurred as a result of the Bonfire collapse, the University deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries that occurred on its campus. Again, the University extends its condolences and continued sympathies to all of the victims of this tragic event as well as their families and friends.
Pending the completion of the Bonfire Commission review and later the completion of litigation, Texas A&M University has not permitted the Bonfire event to occur on the University campus since the 1999 tragedy. No decision has been made as to whether the Bonfire activity will return to the University campus in the future.
However, on July 26, 2002 former University President Ray M. Bowen, on behalf of the University, entered into an “Agreement of Voluntary Compliance” with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers ensuring that any future Bonfires held on University property would be in compliance with Section 19 of the Texas Engineering Practice Act. If a decision is made in the future to allow a Bonfire activity, in some form, to again occur on University property, the following would occur:
- The University would be guided by the aforementioned “Agreement of Voluntary Compliance.”
- The University would look outside the University community for a consulting engineering firm that has no direct ties to the University to determine whether any proposed Bonfire activity involves “engineering.”
- If the independent engineering consulting firm were to advise that a future proposed Bonfire activity did involve “engineering”, construction of a Bonfire activity would go forward on University property only if the engineering plans and specifications and estimates were prepared by, and the engineering construction was executed under the direct supervision of, a licensed professional engineer that has no direct ties to the University.
The University regrets that the student activity known as “Bonfire” grew into a massive project without adequate design and construction supervision by an engineering professional and pledges to do all that it can to prevent any future loss of life associated with a student activity.”