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Updated: 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | Posted: 9:27 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2013

UD and city police investigate student’s death

University of Dayton
University of Dayton

By Katie Wedell

Staff Writer

DAYTON —

The death of a University of Dayton freshman student on campus Tuesday morning is being investigated as a suicide, according to university officials.

University President Daniel Curran sent a message to the campus community Tuesday afternoon identifying the deceased as an 18-year-old engineering major from Cincinnati. The Dayton Daily News does not identify suicide victims by name.

An official with the school said the death occurred Tuesday morning at the Stuart Hall Complex and appears to be a suicide, pending further investigation.

Dayton Police were called to the location of the death at 7:21 a.m. Homicide Detective Sgt. Dan Mauch said there were no witnesses to the death, but several students walking by the co-ed freshman dormitory early Tuesday found the male student’s body and notified campus police.

Mauch said the deceased appears to have plummeted from a sixth-story window of the complex, which is made up of three separate high rise buildings. Whether the individual intentionally jumped or accidentally fell is one of the questions still under investigation.

He said an autopsy was performed Tuesday to determine the exact cause of death.

Curran’s message to students said campus ministry and counselors will be available to students and the campus community scheduled a prayer gathering for the student and his family at Virginia W. Kettering Hall Tuesday night.

“Please reach out to one another in prayer and support during this difficult time. Our campus ministers and counseling staff are always available for you and for those who you know may be deeply affected by this loss,” Curran said.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. with 38,364 suicides reported in 2010, the most recent year complete data is available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

According to analysis of an American College Health Association survey by researchers at the University of Virginia, suicide is the number one leading cause of death for students at four-year institutions in 2009-10. They found that the suicide death rate was 6.18 per 100,000 students, killing more students than alcohol-related crashes.

Male students had a significantly high rate of suicide than females, according to the study. However the study also found that college students have an overall lower mortality rate than their non-student peers.

The ACHA administers each semester a national survey, the National College Health Assessment. Out of 90,666 American college students surveyed during the spring semester of 2012, 1.2 percent reported attempting suicide at some point in the prior 12 months, 45 percent of students said they felt hopeless in the last 12 months, and 6.8 percent seriously considered suicide.

“Those are pretty frightening numbers,” said Darcy Haag Granello, a professor who works with the Ohio State University Campus Suicide Prevention Program.

She said studies have shown that while 90 percent of those contemplating suicide display clear warning signs, only 35 percent of those 15-24 years of age say they would tell someone if a friend was suicidal. She said it’s critical for college students to involve trained professionals if they suspect a friend or roommate is suicidal.

“It’s important to develop a campus culture where people recognize that mental illness is an illness just like any other,” she said.

UD provides several free services for students who may be contemplating suicide, including the student counseling center, campus ministries and trained resident life staff.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has resources available and provides 24-hour counseling services at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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