The University Record, December 5, 1995

Recommendations issued for responding to a student's death

A set of recommendations regarding the ways in which the University should respond to a student's death has been issued by J. Bernard Machen, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Farris W. Womack, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

In a memo accompanying the recommendations, Machen and Womack note that "the need for improved communication across the institution became especially clear when the family of a deceased student received more than 30 inappropriate contacts from University offices that had been unaware of the student's death. In these circumstances," they add, "we want to do everything we can not to add to the family's grief."

Among the steps being taken to implement the recommendations:

 All central offices that provide services to students will be notified when a student has died, via an e-mail message group or other means.

 A formal contact person---responsible for ensuring that information about the student's death is provided to offices that serve students at the school or college level---will be identified in each school and college.

Machen and Womack hope that these efforts, coupled with more specific recommendations highlighted in the accompanying box, will result in quick actions "to initiate appropriate contacts with the next of kin and to avoid inappropriate ones."

The recommendations were developed by an ad hoc group that will reconvene periodically to review progress and consider additional steps if necessary.

Members of the group are: Lynn Adelman, assistant registrar; Maxine Ball, office assistant, Student Accounting Office; Elizabeth H. Hall, public information officer, Office of the Associate Vice President for Business Operations; Glenda Haskell, coordinator of academic services programs, Office of the Provost (chair); Alan Levy, director of Housing public affairs and information; Thomas McElvain, associate registrar; Ilene Seltzer, senior systems analyst, Office of Undergraduate Admissions; Delories Sloan, associate dean of students/specialized services portfolio; and Janet Zielasko, program associate, Health Services.