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JCU responds to tragedy, provides

November 12th, 2009

In response to recent campus deaths, John Carroll University has taken steps toward helping students, faculty and staff to enhance their knowledge about suicide risks, warning signs and counseling resources, as well as helping those coping with losses.

“Our mission as a Jesuit Catholic university calls for each of us to care for one another,” said Mark McCarthy, JCU’s vice president for student affairs. “This commitment means that all of us need to take care of ourselves and seek assistance for our friends when experiencing stress and depression.”

Frank Kinmonth and Cody Gullette were both found deceased in their dorm rooms earlier this semester. Kinmonth was found dead the morning of Sept. 20 in Millor Hall by his roommate. On the morning of Oct. 25, Gullette was also found unresponsive in his dorm room in Campion Hall by a friend.

Following the deaths of the two JCU sophomores, the university reacted by immediately setting up extended counseling center hours and finding additional ways to support the campus community.

“Many people in the campus community continue to take action to further the healing process in the aftermath of the tragic loss of two of its members,” said McCarthy.

In addition to the extended counseling center hours, which end today, Nov. 12, the university added counseling personnel, brought therapy dogs to campus, gave presentations on responding to students in distress, and continues to plan future grief support and preventative measures.

John Ropar, director of the JCU Counseling Center, said the center will halt their extended hours because students do not seem interested.

“There’s nobody accessing the services,” said Ropar.

In an e-mail to students on Oct. 28, University President the Rev. Robert Niehoff said, “We will continue to plan and implement more long term responses in the coming weeks and months.”

JCU is bringing a gatekeeper training program for faculty, staff and students to campus on Dec. 3. Campus Connect is tailored to improve knowledge and awareness concerning student suicide.

Ropar said the program was set sometime in July or August of this year, prior to the campus deaths.

The program objectives are to make participants more aware of suicide warning signs and referral points for students who may be at risk for suicide. Also, the plan is to increase the campus’ ability to respond to at-risk students and to improve participants’ self-efficacy in reacting to at-risk students.

Ropar said Campus Connect is a positive program. “I’m glad we’ve been able to implement it,” he said.

For more information on mental health and grieving resources, visit http://www.jcu.edu/campuslife/wellness/student/index.htm.

The Counseling Center is located at 2567 South Belvoir Road, two doors down from the tennis courts. Staff can be reached at any time via Campus Safety Services at (216) 397-1234.