• April 28, 2015

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State helps students affected by friends' deaths

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Posted: Friday, December 9, 2005 12:00 am

Help is available for grieving students affected by the recent deaths of students Kelly Laughery, Rob Stupka and Laurie Bratten, who must also deal with final exams and projects.

Lisa Wetzel, president of Sigma Kappa, the sorority Laughery belonged to, said there was an emergency notice from the dean of students office sent to the advisers of all the women who live in the house. She said the letter was intended to help explain why the students might need a little leeway on projects and testing before finals.

Wetzel, senior in elementary education, said ISU officials from the dean of students office and student counseling have been very helpful for the women in the sorority affected by Laughery's death. She said the professors were simply asked to accommodate students as best they could. Students cannot simply forego an exam, she said, but some professors may give students extra time to study or move back due dates for projects.

Nicci Port, coordinator of outreach services in the dean of students office, said professors are usually understanding and work with students to make arrangements with students going through trying times.

"Our faculty have been really good about working with students that provide emergency notifications," Port said. "In my experience, faculty have been very understanding."

Port said faculty who receive notifications are more willing to work with students because they know the dean of students office does not issue emergency notifications for minor reasons. She said the emergency notification does not detail what happened, so it is up to the students to explain some of what is going on.

Monica Schwartzman, incoming president of Sigma Kappa, said she lived in the same residence hall as Laughery last year. She said she and Laughery became close while working and living together during summer recruitment.

"Kelly and I knew each other on a really strong sister level," said Schwartzman, sophomore in communications studies.

She said some professors have been very helpful, but some have rigidly stuck to the syllabus.

Schwartzman said a counselor from student counseling services came to a house meeting to explain the grieving process and the feelings they may experience.

"She let us know it's OK to have days where we don't feel like doing anything," she said.

Marty Martinez, staff psychologist at student counseling services, said counselors have been made aware of the situation. He said there is crisis counseling available for students, and usually a counselor will be able to see the student almost immediately.

"There is long-term availability for students in case their grief doesn't hit right away," he said.

He said there are many ways to grieve, and students who don't feel the effects right away should not be surprised if they cry unexpectedly. Martinez cautioned that this isn't a sign of depression, but simply part of the grieving process.

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