Students should be encouraged to mourn, not sheltered from the truth

By By Melissa Schack

By Melissa Schack

A man who had worked as a custodian for years at the U jumped to his death off of the observation deck on the fifth floor of the Warnock Engineering Building on Aug. 30 around 8:45 p.m. We may never know the man’s name, why he did it or even what he looked like.

In order to properly mourn the loss of life, the student body should be informed of the loss of one of our valued staff.

After the incident, the dean of the College of Engineering, Richard Brown, sent the faculty and staff a mass e-mail lamenting the loss of life on campus. This was never sent to students, yet many were present when the body was discovered. Somebody should have had the presence of mind to formally announce the loss of life to the entire university.

Even in The Daily Utah Chronicle, the mention of him was minute as U administrators were unwilling to release much information about him. If it had been anyone else, with any circumstance other than suicide, there would have been a captioned photo of him with a detailed article telling of his life and contributions to the U. A staff member, a donator, a student, but not a custodian. True, there are thousands of workers on campus, but they don’t die everyday. It’s not unreasonable to spend a few minutes to talk about the death of someone on campus.

In our society, we treat suicide as a mortal sin. This doesn’t make the loss of life any less painful. If anything, it makes the loss more painful and unbearable. It’s difficult to imagine someone who we see everyday, walking our halls, watching after our messes, making sure everything moves smoothly, suddenly jump off of a building where everyone can see him. Seeing something like this must be beyond surreal, hearing about it is unbelievable.

We have been denied his identity because of the nature of his death. All those who were close to him and loved him know, yet I can’t help but feel cheated by this lack of information given to the people at the U.

It’s important that humans properly mourn to retain their sanity, and it seems impossible without a face to put to the incident.

In our hearts, we all knew this man. He was the one that made our lives easier. He was the one that prevented us from getting that nasty cold. He was the one that gave us cheer when he smiled as we walked past. He was the one that worked behind the scenes making himself just as valued as any faculty or staff at the U.

Light a candle, say a prayer, meditate. Mourn him, because he was there for us.

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