After tragedies, campus begins healing process

Media Credit: Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Family, friends and administrators gathered last month to remember freshman Benjamin Asma and senior Lynley Redwood, who both committed suicide.

A shattered calm
The community that has been hit the hardest is the Mount Vernon Campus. The 23-acre suburban campus, with grassy hills, historic brick buildings and freshly updated tennis courts, offers a quiet respite from Foggy Bottom. But as West Hall, the campus’ largest residence hall, lost its third student this semester, the calm has been shattered.

West Hall, which is quiet enough that it does not have security officers at its front desk, is home to about 280 freshmen and upperclassmen. With communal kitchens and common rooms on every floor, students – freshmen in particular – frequently leave their doors open as they pass through each other’s rooms to study, cook together and watch TV.

For the last three days, several first floor rooms have served as makeshift counseling center offices for West Hall students. The University also added additional counseling hours at Eckles Library this weekend.

Jessica Ryabin, a freshman who lived in Somers Hall and was Asma’s close friend through the club swimming team, said he was constantly surrounded by his friends in his building. “I know that he was very close with everyone who lived around him,” she said.

At a student-organized vigil on the Marvin Center terrace Thursday night, friends of Redwood and Asma walked one by one to the microphone to share stories of Redwood’s unbending friendship or Asma’s “contagious smile.”

When Asma’s parents, Benjamin and Leann, stepped to the microphone, they said hearing their son’s friends share those kinds of memories was therapeutic.

“You guys are helping the healing process and helping us understand the environment he’s been in, and it’s beautiful,” Asma’s father said.

– Chloe Sorvino and Brianna Gurciullo contributed to this report.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.