Does Rutgers Do Enough When It Comes To Informing Students On Student Deaths?

By: Catherine Owusu

With the passing of Rutgers freshman, Patrick Awosogba, there have now been a total of 10 student deaths at Rutgers University. To alert students of these deaths, the university sends out a mass email. It informs students of general information such as name and age along with information about funeral arrangements. There were a wide range of causes such as alcohol poisoning, a bear attack, and a suicide.

Every email regarding a student death is sent out using a format that includes general details about the deceased student. There are often no follow-ups offering further information about what happened to the victim.

Since these deaths are rare, many students feel that it would be nice if the messages were more personalized and supportive.

“I understand what they’re trying to do as in bring more of a community aspect to Rutgers by letting people know of these death,” said Rutgers Senior Hantz Jean-Francois. “Maybe the school could send counselors to the dorm and talk to anyone that needed to talk.”

Other students share the same ideas. They understand these emails are an effort to show the school cares but sometimes it does not seem like enough.

“It feels detached. It doesn’t seem heartfelt, like each message stems from a pre-written format,” said Brandon Womble, a Rutgers student. “I understand they can’t go in-depth out of respect for the victim’s families though.”

On the other hand, there were other students who felt the emails were good enough.

“I feel like the emails are just fine, because this (Rutgers) is a big school and it’s not everyone that knows these students,” said Kwabena Boachie, a junior at Rutgers.

The emails seem brief but Miranda gave us further details of how the university attends to such news and occurrences.

“Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) responds to help those most affected by a student death. For example, if the student lived in a residence hall, they may hold hours in that residence hall or on a specific floor to help students with their immediate grief. CAPS has also responded to assist with support for student organizations and student staff affected by a death. If requested, the university may also arrange for clergy to respond and assist with grief counseling.”