Are We Becoming Numb to Student Deaths?

The Voice Staff, Staff Editorial

Students’ email inboxes read, “Sad News.” Without even opening the email, students have grown to expect these messages more often than ever. The university owes students more information and support, in the face of these tragedies. 

After a review of news articles, Bloomsburg University alone has lost 14 students, one faculty member and one vice president since 2019. The most recent student death of Edward Heckler occurred last Saturday in the early hours of the morning, days before the start of fall classes. 

Heckler was a classmate to many, a friend to many, a student with hopes and dreams of a vibrant professional and personal life in the years ahead. 

The big question remains, are students becoming numb to these tragedies? We at The Voice believe that Bloomsburg University needs to provide students with more resources on how tragedies can be prevented, and a more sincere way of carrying on students’ legacies who have passed away. A brief acknowledgment of a student death in an email is not enough. 

On February 5, 2022, the student body was informed of the passing of student Greg Anstine, via an email from president Bashar Hanna. The email stated the date of his passing and a short statement about Greg’s life, before sharing resources for on campus counseling. 

While offering counseling for students is greatly appreciated and important, it comes across as callous and dismissive. We at The Voice believe that the University can do more for their students, after sharing heartbreaking news. If we really are the “family” that university emails tell us we are, we need to collectively mourn that human tragedy. 

In the following weeks after Greg Anstine’s passing, two of his friends Jason McSherry and Ryon Sauble set up a GoFundMe to raise money for Greg’s cause. The fundraiser reached over $16,000 with some of the money donated towards benches on Bloomsburg University’s campus. A bench was installed across from the Sutliff academic building on May 4, 2022. 

Students do not feel seen by the university after losing fellow students, and don’t feel the university’s comfort and support. Instead, they take matters into their own hands, by creating fundraisers, planning memorials, and raising awareness for those who are suffering. 

At the end of the day, human life is extremely precious and should be upheld and cared for at all costs. 

If you or someone you know is struggling after the loss of a loved one, don’t hesitate to find the help that you need. Bloomsburg offers counseling to all students, please contact 570-389-4255 or visit their website to schedule a session. There are several online resources that are readily available in times of need. Online therapy such as BetterHelp can be accessed within a few clicks, along with support groups within one’s community. 

Around the Clock 24/7 Mental Health Support

Crisis Text Line 741-741 – text “help”

BU Police Department 570-389-2211

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Tapline Local Crisis Service 1-800-222-9016