By Jane R. Elgass
A student and a graduate died in a murder-suicide on March 5, bringing the specter of domestic violence to the University.
Alumnus Christopher Groesbeck was shot in his off-campus apartment on East Kingsley by senior Natasha Qurershi, who then shot herself. Police have indicated that the deaths were the result of a failed romantic relationship.
Funeral services for both Groesbeck, who graduated in August 1998, and Qureshi were held last week.
According to a 1991 national survey, about 28 percent of high school and college students said they had experienced violence in a dating relationship. Often, according to Sarah Heuser of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC), the early stages of a violent relationship are marked by attempts to exert power and control in a nonviolent manner, with violence escalating later on.
SAPAC Director Virginia Chitanda notes that there are a number of campus and community resources available for those who are in a violent relationship or one that might become violent.
"SAPAC is a safe place where any member of the U-M community, male or female, can come to talk about their relationship or that of a friend they're concerned about," Heuser says. "Our services are free and completely confidential. We're available to students, faculty and staff. We encourage people to come and talk to us if they're feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, even if they have not directly experienced violence."
SAPAC's offices are located at 715 North University. The 24-hour crisis line is 936-3333. Washtenaw County residents also can contact Safe House, 995-5444.
Students also may contact Counseling and Psychological Services in the Michigan Union, 764-8312. Faculty and staff can seek help through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, 936-8660, located in the Administrative Services Building with a satellite office at University Health Service on Fletcher.