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.

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