FROM THE EDITOR
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From the Editor
“A Confluence of Horrifying Events”
The Reed campus was rocked in March by two heartrending tragedies.
First, philosophy junior Jessica Ettenger ’11 was found dead in her dorm room at the beginning of spring break. Although the nature of her death remains uncertain, the medical examiner’s office ruled out alcohol, illegal drugs, and foul play. In deference to the wishes of her family, Dean of Students Mike Brody asked the community to refrain from speculation as to the remaining possibilities, and to attempt to “make some semblance of peace with the unknowable.”
Photograph by Orin Zyvan
Even as the community struggled to make sense of Jessica’s death, calamity struck again a week later, when physics senior Sam Tepper ’10 suffered a fatal heroin overdose in his off-campus apartment.
At a staff meeting the following day, President Colin Diver referred to the tragedies, which are completely unrelated except for their temporal proximity, as a “confluence of horrifying events.”
For a place as tight-knit as Reed, the loss of two students struck with terrible force. For days, the mood on campus was palpably somber. Grief-stricken students, tears running down their faces, hugged one another in the Quad. The cheerful din of Commons was reduced to a quiet murmur—even the scroungers seemed subdued. Only the raw beauty of the Canyon, with its budding dogwood and its broody ducks, seemed unscathed.
It is hard to know how to write intelligently about such awful events, especially late in the magazine’s production cycle, but we have tried. The piece on page 16 examines Reed’s evolving approach to drug and alcohol abuse on campus. We have also included obituaries for the students.
For alumni, the deaths will trigger a range of emotions, from sorrow and sympathy to disappointment, frustration, and even anger. After these have run their course, I would like to propose another one: resolve.
In the final analysis, it seems to me that the best way to honor the dead is to rededicate ourselves to the living; to reach out to those in need; to share our wisdom and experience with those who are willing to listen; and to be ever mindful of our collective obligation to help young people navigate the vast, strange, and sometimes treacherous waters between adolescence and adulthood.
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