Crisis in Suites
Resident assistants in Suiteswere split over the effectivenessof the University’s reaction onthe night of Wopat’s attempt andduring her weeklong hospitaliza-tion prior to her death. Two RAsexpressed frustration with a lackof explicit directives on how toaddress resident questions andemotional responses to Wopat’shospitalization, though the otherSuites RAs said University offi-cials were very helpful through-out the process.“I don’t feel like the Universi-ty was there to help us as RAs,”said Kiera O’Rourke ’13.O’Rourke and Jen Wylie ’13,also a Suites RA, commentedthat it was difficult not to relay in-formation since many residentswere present as ambulances ar-rived on campus.“When I came in, I saw allthree floors of Jenkins [the houseadjacent to Wopat’s residence] —all the windows lighted and peo-ple were standing in the windowlooking,” O’Rourke said.“You could see the ambulance— the sirens were going on out-side,” Wylie said. “People weregoing to be like ‘What’s goingon?’”Suites RA Elijah Frazier ’12,who said that many students wit-nessed the presence of EMTs,also said that very little informa-tion could be released becausevery little information was avail-able at the time.O’Rourke, who acknowl-edged that Valentina del Olmo,the Residence Dean responsiblefor Suites, needed to be at thehospital with Wopat, said thathaving an adult present on cam-pus that night would have beenhelpful. All four Suites RAsagreed that having an adult pres-ence in the dorm followingWopat’s hospitalization wouldhave been helpful.O’Rourke said alerting near-by resident fellows (RF) in theSterling Quad or EAST, Murrayor Yost houses could have solvedthe lack of adult presence, sinceSuites does not have an RF. Sheadded she did not feel supportedby the University in the days fol-lowing Wopat’s suicide attempt,and that she did not know how torespond to students — as an RAand as a fellow student — follow-ing Wopat’s hospitalization. Inher opinion, the University failedto give adequate directives to theSuites RAs.“We really didn’t know whatto do,” she said. “It felt very fu-tile.”O’Rourke said she was told afew days after Wopat’s hospital-ization not to convey further in-formation to students who didnot know what had happened,but to ensure general residentwell-being.“As an RA you feel hesitant todo the personal thing becauseyou’re part of the voice of theUniversity almost,” O’Rourkeadded. “You don’t want to act asan RA without the Universitybacking you up. You feel very lostwhen you don’t have an explicitdirection [about what informa-tion to reveal].”Wylie and fellow RA Juan-Carlos Foust ’13 agreed theywould have appreciated havingmore information about whatthey could and could not say tostudents.“I didn’t know what face I wassupposed to be wearing,” Foustsaid.The Suites RAs announced avigil held for Wopat two daysafter her hospitalization, men-tioning neither her name or whathad occurred.“Saturday was a hard night formany members of our communi-ty,” the RAs wrote to the Suitesmailing list. “If you would like tosend love/support for those in-volved, take a trip to MaplesPavilion. At the entrance is a treefrom which we are hanging mes-sages, notes, drawings, etc. Mate-rials should be in a brown bagnear the tree.”Some Suites residents attend-ed the vigil and left, without everknowing Wopat’s name.
“They should have been goingaround that night”
O’Rourke was uncomfortablewith an apparent hands-off ap-proach following Wopat’s death,especially when she was asked bythe Suites ResEd supervisor tocheck up on the residents of Grif-fin, Wopat’s house within Suites.“We got an email one or twodays later saying, ‘You have to goaround Griffin again and talk toeach room,’” O’Rourke said.“And I was like ‘Why am I goingaround Griffin? I think a [Coun-seling and Pschological Services]counselor should go around Grif-fin — they should have beengoing around that night.’”“I think CAPS counselorsshould have been here the dayafter [Wopat attempted suicide]going around Griffin,” O’Rourkesaid. Wylie agreed.Communication betweenRAs and the University also ap-peared to be a problem. BothRAs expressed frustration withlimited prior announcement of an academic advising event heldfor Suites residents to assess theiroptions for finishing winter quar-ter coursework while dealingwith Wopat’s hospitalization.“We weren’t even notifiedabout that,” O’Rourke said.All four Suites RAs said theyreceived emails from administra-tors commending them for theirwork during such a difficult time.Foust said the messages felt morereactive than prescriptive.Frazier said he felt the Univer-sity response to the RAs was bothsupportive and appropriate.“Because ResEd stepped in tosupport [us] and the University[did] overall — I think there wasa lot of support,” Frazier said.“It seemed that they were verybusy but also highly supportive,”Foust said.“The University said it wasn’ta measure of keeping the situa-tion quiet as much as it was up tothe family on what they chose todisclose or not,” Frazier said.O’Rourke said she under-stood privacy concerns but got adifferent sense from the Univer-sity.“It seemed to me like they did-n’t want us to tell people,” shesaid.Dean of Residential Educa-tion Deborah Golder said she re-ceived feedback from Suites resi-dents about a lack of Universitypresence in the dorm, butstressed that action by RAs ismore meaningful than adminis-trator presence and that ResEdcoordinated with the Suites RAs.“We got some feedback fromfolks who live in Suites, saying‘the University’s not doing any-thing for us,’” Golder said. “All of the things that RAs were doing,etc. were our involvement. It feelslike ‘the University is not in-volved,’ but of course we are.What’s more helpful to a stu-dent? Me? I think a student whoyou know is more accessible toyou than I am. Maybe those don’tlook public enough. That’s notthe intention.”
With the exception of an emailResEd sent to the Suites residen-tial community followingWopat’s death, the Universityhas not sent any direct messagesto the student body announcingthe deaths of Wopat or Hine,memorial services for the de-ceased students or existing re-sources for grieving or stressedstudents.On April 2, Vice Provost of Student Affairs Greg Boardmanpublished an op-ed in The Dailyannouncing Wopat’s death tothose who may not have known,stating that the Universitywould likely not offer additionalinformation in deference tofamily privacy and communicat-ing the availability of campusmental health resources.On April 17, The Daily ran anop-ed by Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, senior associate deanof the Office for Religious Life;Alejandro Martinez, senior asso-ciate director of CAPS; and JimCadena, director of the Arts inResidential Education program,about their work with Hine.Still, several students haveexpressed frustration with a lackof communication about the stu-dent deaths, while the Universitycontinues to stress the impor-tance of maintaining the privacyof families during times of loss.Stanford was not the only topuniversity to experience studentdeath in recent weeks. In compar-ison, the Dean of Harvard Col-lege and the Dean of Yale Col-lege each sent messages to theirentire student populations an-nouncing student deaths that thatoccurred on their respective cam-puses in the past two weeks. EachUniversity relayed informationabout the deaths, the availabilityof mental health resources oncampus and details for vigils viacampus-wide emails on the sameday the students had died, thoughneither included suicide as thecause of death in communicationto students.“Harvard never acknowl-edged any cause of death,” Har-vard sophomore Nicholas Rine-hart wrote in a Facebook mes-sage to The Daily.“People here are actuallypretty upset that Harvard is nottaking this opportunity to talkabout suicide and mental healthin any real way, instead pretend-ing like [suicide] doesn’t hap-pen,” Rinehart wrote.Stanford Dean of Student Af-fairs Chris Griffith responded toThe Daily about how the Univer-sity communicates news of stu-dent deaths, saying that Stanforddefers to the privacy concerns of family members and does nothave a specific policy on broaderdisemmination of the news.“Our immediate responsewhen one of our students dies isto support the student’s family,friends, and others who are im-pacted and to ensure that theyhave access to University re-sources that provide help andcomfort,” Griffith wrote in anemail to The Daily. “Our re-sponse does not require a specificnotification to the community;but rather we evaluate the cir-cumstances and consider theneed for privacy of family mem-bers and of students and otherswho are impacted at Stanford aswell as regulations that may pre-vent us from releasing informa-tion.”Vice Provost for Student Af-fairs Greg Boardman wrote toThe Daily that he thinks the Uni-versity can balance the privacyneeds of families while having anopen dialogue about suicide.“We always work hard to re-spect the privacy of individuals,”Boardman said. “Each situationposes its unique circumstances,and, often there is much that theUniversity is unable to disclose.Yet, we always engage with opendialogue on the associated topicson mental health and suicide,broadly.”This policy has upset some stu-dents, and Ron Albucher, direc-tor of CAPS, said he understandswhere that frustration originates.“I totally get why students feelfrustrated about this — becausethere seems to be a lack of com-munication from the Universityto the student body about it,” Al-bucher said. “The Universitystruggles with balancing theneeds of the students with the pri-vacy issues of the families in-volved. And that’s where the Uni-versity has sided more.”
Silence on Cady Hine
The silence surroundingWopat’s death wasn’t the onlycause of frustration for some stu-dents. Stanford lost another stu-dent on April 1, when Cady Hine,a junior with a history of bipolardisorder who worked to addressthe stigma surrounding mentalhealth and mental illness on cam-pus, died while on spring break atthe age of 24. No additional newsof the circumstances of Hine’sdeath has been reported.The Stanford Report an-nounced Cady Hine’s death onApril 6, and The Daily printed anobituary on April 17, along withthe previously mentioned op-ed.No official University communi-cation was sent.Helena Bonde, a fifth yearsenior who befriended Hinewhen they met in 2008, expressedfrustration with how long andthrough what channels newsabout Hine’s death and memorialservices traveled, especially at thelate response of both the Univer-sity and The Daily.“I was pissed that there wasn’tmore news about [Cady’s]death,” Bonde said. “ I mean,Cady was a really wonderfulmember of our community andthere wasn’t even a Daily articleuntil after her memorial service— which was two weeks after herdeath.”Bonde said she did not findout about Hine’s death througheither the Report or The Daily.“I found out about it from afriend emailing me because she’dseen someone link to the Stan-ford News update website-thing— that I’d never even looked atbefore in my life,” she said. “Thereare probably quite a few peoplewho didn’t even know aboutCady’s death until after the me-morial.”
Part two of this four-part series will run Wednesday.The piece will ex-amine crisis prevention on campus,including training of Residential Education staff, and University re- sponse to student mental healthcrises.
Continued from front page
The Stanford Daily
Monday, April 30, 2012
By CARA REICHARD
f the many Stanfordmyths repeated tofreshmen, one of themost common isthat up to 70 percentof Stanford students meet theirlife partners at the Farm.According to the StanfordAlumni Association and as re-ported by The Daily, in fact nomore than 15 to 20 percent of Stanford students marry fellowtrees. The Daily spoke with Stan-ford couples of all ages about ro-mance on the Farm.Barbara Beck Garton ’79 wason the swim team with her hus-band-to-be Dan Garton as anundergraduate at Stanford. Thecouple met through the teamduring their freshman year, al-though they did not know eachother very well at the time be-cause, as Barbara put it, “I was inthe fast [swimmers’] lane and hewas in the slow [swimmers’]lane.”In their senior year, the pairbecame better acquainted. Bychance, they lived in the samehouse, where Dan was the presi-dent.“He was the one who as-signed the rooms,” Barbara said.“He remembered me fromswimming and put me aroundthe corner from himself.”Their courtship began, butwas not an immediate success.During fall quarter their houseput on a medieval party, in whichDan’s actions put a strain ontheir budding relationship. Danwent dressed as Prince Charm-ing while Barbara dressed as theLady of the Lake from theArthurian legends.“He had a big crush on me, butunfortunately he overindulgedand ended up stripping down tohis tights,” Barbara said. “It took afew more months to repair thedamage he did at that party.”Eventually, however, Danmanaged to win his future wifeover. According to Barbara, heimpressed her with his ingeniousmethod of stocking the housevending machine with beer, de-spite it being against the rules.Claiming that her case is notunique, Barbara recalled thatthere were two marriages fromher freshman dorm alone. Bothcouples remain married today,including her hallmate — whowas also her best friend on theswimming team — and her bestfriend from freshman year.The marriage trend has con-tinued even in Garton’s family.“A girl from Dan’s freshmandorm became my sister-in-law bymarrying Dan’s brother Michael,a Business School student.”Keeping the Cardinal tradi-tion strong, all three of the Gar-ton’s daughters attended Stan-ford. One, a graduate of the classof 2007, met her husband at Stan-ford.Some students, however, meettheir spouses years after theirtime at Stanford, as was the casefor Hilary Lieberman Link ’91.Link and her friends hosted aPassover Seder in April 1989,which her future husband attend-ed with a group of friends.“We met that one night andnever saw each other again,” Linksaid. But 10 years later in NewYork, a mutual friend set them upon what was supposed to be ablind date.“I called my friend and askedif Jeff Link was the guy fromHawaii who came to our PassoverSeder,” Link said. “She said ‘Yes,it was and he was cute. You shouldgo.’”Although their relationshipdidn’t start until years after theyhad both left the Farm, Link saidshe feels that their shared connec-tion to the school played a largerole in the formation of their rela-tionship.“[The Stanford connection]runs through our relationship,”she said. “I think the fact that wemet here had a huge impact.When we re-met, that was sort of it from then on.”While hook-ups and flings areprominent on campus, there aremany couples that envision beingtogether for the long-term. Suchis the case with Megan O’Brien’14, who met boyfriend MichaelCrayne ’12 through the archeryteam at the beginning of herfreshman year.Between schoolwork and ex-tracurricular activities, manyStanford students feel they aretoo busy for a relationship.O’Brien said she doesn’t thinkthis is reason not to commit toone.“Ideally, you’ll both be in-volved in some of the same activ-ities, so you can spend that timewith them,” she said.Both O’Brien and Crayne aremembers of the archery team andshare their Catholic faith.“You should be helping eachother do what you already do bet-ter, not hindering them or takingover their life,” she said.For O’Brien and many otherstudents who find love at Stan-ford, the connection they makewith their partners is more thangood chemistry, but somethingthat is deep and profound.“To most, love is a warm, fuzzyfeeling that you have when you’reclose to a person and want to bewith them a lot andenjoy spend-ing time with them,” O’Brien said.“Love is, above all, a choice to bewith someone and care for themand give yourself up entirely forthem.”
Contact Cara Reichard at firstname.lastname@example.org
On love, marriageand beer vendingmachines onthe Farm
AUBRIE LEE/The Stanford Daily