College mourns Branford sophomore

Branford sophomore Andre Narcisse ’12 died Sunday. The cause of his death has not been released, but police do not suspect foul play.

Narcisse, 19, of Roosevelt, NY, was unresponsive when discovered by his suitemates in his Branford College suite Sunday morning. The suitemates immediately called emergency services, but paramedics were unable to resuscitate Narcisse. As students reacted with shock and grief Sunday, Yale officials began holding a series of meetings to talk about the death with students in the coming days.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, police stood in and around Narcisse’s suite, E13. At 2:45 p.m., emergency officials removed Narcisse’s body from the entryway on a stretcher. As word spread, students congregated, some weeping, in Branford and Davenport courtyards.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller officially announced the news in a campuswide e-mail yesterday afternoon. Several minutes later, Miller sent out a similar e-mail to all parents of Yale College students.

Narcisse’s parents and sister arrived on campus Sunday afternoon, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry said. Miller said in a phone interview that Narcisse’s family will cooperate in any way possible with the police.

“We will grieve with them together as a community,” she said.

Narcisse’s body is being taken to the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Farmington for an autopsy. His suitemates have been relocated to temporary housing.

When asked about the cause of Narcisse’s death, Miller said it would be premature and inappropriate to speculate but added that she has been communicating over the past week with masters and deans to share concerns about alcohol and drug use on campus. After last week’s Safety Dance, at least eight students needed medical attention.

Without addressing the cause of Narcisse’s death, Council of Masters Chair Jonathan Holloway said the Council had already been planning to discuss alcohol and drug concerns in their meeting this coming Friday. He said there is no new policy as yet, but cited the “record number” of student transports to medical facilities this semester as a serious problem.

Deans and masters have already begun reaching out to students.

More than 80 Branford students attended a meeting with Master Steven Smith on Sunday evening. Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry, Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, Associate University Chaplain Calista Isabelle, Smith, Branford Dean Daniel Tauss and two representatives from Yale University Health Services addressed support resources at Yale.

“The most important thing is to just be there for each other as a community,” Tauss said. Smith said in an e-mail to Branford students sent after the meeting that Branford would hold a vigil in the Great Courtyard tomorrow evening.

Smith invited any student still in need to come to the Master’s house after the meeting. Across Yale, residential college masters e-mailed their students inviting them to meetings or to their houses for support.

Officials said that this was a time for all Yale community members to support each other.

“The loss of anybody in Yale College is a loss to all of us,” Holloway said.

Narcisse’s death comes less than two months after the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13 rocked the Yale campus.

The last time an enrolled undergraduate died was in March 2008 when Andrew Liotta ’10 died in his sleep of unknown causes.

Matthew Claudel, Greta Stetson, Esther Zuckerman and Vivian Yee contributed reporting.

Correction: Nov. 2, 2009

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misreported the class year of Andrew Liotta ’10.


  • Yale ’12

    The News has again proved its utter lack of professionalism. This is a shockingly manipulative piece of journalism that first promises to refrain from “speculation” but which nevertheless reports for three paragraphs on COMPLETELY UNRELATED safety-dance hospital trips and University plans to address “drugs and alcohol” concerns.

    These issues should be covered by the YDN, but they have no place in this story.

    I hope that the Yale community has the good sense to see this piece for the opportunist journalism it is. I would hope that we are smarter than to fall for this, and that we are able to remember Andre, celebrate his life, and refrain from speculation until the details are officially released.

    I also hope that others will echo me in condemnation for this inappropriate and unprofessional style of journalism of the YDN.

  • @ By Yale ’12

    What on Earth are you talking about?! Exactly what ”opportunism” are you speaking of? Is the YDN, in cahoots with the College Dean’s Office, getting kickbacks for mentioning drugs and alcohol in their story? There is nothing inappropriate or unprofessional about mentioning a dangerous spike in drug and alcohol overdoses on campus. It is only you who should be taken to task for shifting the focus from Narcisse’s tragic death.

  • @#2

    Dear Mr #2, if this tragic death is found to be the result of a blood clot, and anurism, or any other of the many silent killers that can overtake even a youthful person, would it not have been innapropriate this whole time to cast a pall over this young man’s time at Yale by mentioning irrevelant details regarding alcohol and drugs? When the cause of this tragedy is known (and recalling Liotta, it may never be) things may be different, but for now it is grossly inappropriate to include these references in this particular article. This is not another interview or news story, this is a public reference on a man’s life and legacy.

    However, even I have been taken away from the matter at hand, let us strive not to argue (and if we do, only to defend the memory of so wonderful a person, student and friend) in these hard times.

  • could not agree more with @#2

    Once again, the YDN has reported in a manner better suited for an opinion section that a features piece. Please keep your speculation to yourself, YDN. Shame on you for slandering Andre before you even know the facts of the case.

  • #5

    I agree. Why doesn’t the YDN just come out and say what it has to say.

  • ’98

    Lets not have any coverups, however.

    I took the YDN story to gently imply that there was some basis for suspecting that substance abuse may have been involved here. If this is the case, it shouldn’t be hushed up or DOWN-played out of friendship for the victim, but rather played UP as a cautionary tale for other undergrads.

    Either way, it is surely a “tragedy” – but the news shouldn’t be sweetly edited to preserve the man’s “life and legacy.”

  • West Coast Family

    They haven’t contacted us, I found out this sad news from an unaffiliated college website. I’m still waiting for an email from the school. They don’t take this long cashing our check.

  • @everyonebut#1

    I don’t think the YDN is speculating. They are saying what people are saying. They’re saying what’s out there. If you can’t deal with what’s being said, then go and tell those people saying to stop. The YDN is reporting.

  • Read the Story

    It was not the YDN that connected this tragedy to alcohol and drugs, it was Dean Miller. She was the one that mentioned the record amount of drug and drinking related hospitalizations on campus. Therefore it was not “completely unrelated” as Yale ’12 said.

  • @ West Coast Family

    My parents are on the West Coast and got an email within minutes. I think your email may not have gone through, they may have the wrong email address for you, your junk mail filter may have caught it, etc. That said, try not to be snotty… they did contact parents.

  • ’12

    Let’s get back on topic.

    RIP my man.

  • ’10

    West Coast Family,

    My mom is in California, and she received an email last night. I don’t know what went wrong in your case, but Yale certainly let my family know.

  • California Yale Family

    I was on the phone with my son early Sunday afternoon when I received a the very sad news by email. Indeed, Yale sent information to us quickly. (Perhaps they do not have your correct email or it is in your spam folder.) I send my heartfelt condolences to Andre’s family and friends.