By Emmy Liederman
On Friday, Feb. 8, President Kathryn Foster sent out a campus-wide email to report the death of Jenna DiBenedetto, a senior psychology major and member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. The cause of death has not been confirmed.
DiBenedetto’s visitation was held on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Gallaway & Crane Funeral Home, 101 South Finley Ave, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. According to the funeral home’s website, the family is requesting memorial donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey in lieu of flowers.
On Friday between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., six students close to DiBenedetto met with Campus Police and Mark Forest, the director of Counseling and Psychological Services.
“We met with a group of students individually before the email came out,” Draper said. “We want to make sure they know they have support.”
Whenever the community faces a tragic incident, there are various response teams in place at College that report to Campus Police so that students who may be most affected by the situation are made aware before a campus-wide email is sent out, according to Dean of Students Jordan Draper.
The president and several other staff members also met with members of Delta Phi Epsilon on Sunday and discussed holding an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness community walk in DiBenedetto’s honor.
As the campus community mourns this loss, staff members have stressed that students should be supportive of one another and the campus community. Students are encouraged to submit Counseling and Psychological Services referrals for friends who might be in need of support. This can be the first step in connecting peers with help in a variety of areas, including academic, financial and mental health needs.
“If they have concerns about friends, please submit a CARE referral on our website,” Draper said. “The role of CARE is to get students to the place they need so they can achieve success both academically and personally. As we move forward in the community, it is important that students are listening to each other.”
Sean Stallings, the Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, also emphasized the importance of leaning on peers, as well as resources at the College, in a Feb. 10 email.
“I’d like to remind anyone who may be struggling with this loss that TCNJ is here for you,” he said. “Please keep Jenna’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers and keep in mind that you are not alone.”