Freshman found dead in dorm room

Syracuse University officials confirm the death of Courtenay Nash in DellPlain Hall on Friday afternoon.

Courtenay Nash, an economics freshman, was found dead on the first floor of DellPlain Hall around 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Details are not yet available on the cause of death but The Post-Standard reported it "is not believed to be criminal in nature," said Syracuse Police Department spokesman Tom Connellan.

Undeclared freshman Andrew Schaeffer, who lives in Ernie Davis Hall across the courtyard from the entrance of DellPlain Hall, spoke about the incident.

Photo: Cheryl Mowczan
A Department of Public Safety officer warns students not to enter the first floor of DellPlain Hall during the investigation of freshman Courtenay Nash's death.

"There's a big window next to my room, I could see everything," he said. "I saw an ambulance, paramedics and cop cars come and I thought maybe someone died, maybe someone passed out."

Students are currently allowed to go in and out of the residence hall if they live on floors other than the first floor. Around 8:30 p.m. at least one wing of the first floor was opened to residents.

On the scene, Connellan stressed that the university is safe, that this was not a crime and that the student body is as safe as it was before.

Policy studies senior Ariel Norling found out about the death on Twitter.

"If anything, it makes me wonder about how the security at the university responds to things," Norling said. "If it were a public safety threat, none of us would have known. We still haven't heard any word."

Norling believes the students should hear about what's going on first.

"The people who care about it are the students."

Chancellor Nancy Cantor sent an email to the Syracuse University community about the death around 7 p.m. Friday. "Our hearts are with Courtenay’s family, friends near and far, and all members of the SU community whose lives she touched," she said in the email.

DellPlain Hall is located on 601 Comstock Ave. and houses 436 men and women on eight floors, according to the Housing, Meal Plan and ID Card Services website.

This is not the first time a student has been found dead in DellPlain Hall. In September 2008, a male freshman was found dead on the residence hall's fourth floor and the death was treated as an apparent suicide. 

Information technology junior Anne Marie Suchanek said, "We're just waiting to hear. I know a lot of things but I dont know what's true."

Several organizations are open to those in need. The Counseling Center (443-4715), Hendricks Chapel (443-2901) and the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (443-1087) are available to those who wish to use their services. 

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