Stanford University admissions worker James Shirvell ’14 — the 2013-14 captain of the Yale men’s track & field team and a former dean’s fellow at Yale-NUS College — was arrested on March 3 on suspicion of attempted murder, according to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. The Los Angeles Times reported that Shirvell allegedly attacked his girlfriend with a knife while on LSD. On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to all of the charges leveled against him.
Shirvell, 26, also faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm), domestic violence and assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury, according to the Sheriff’s Department. He is currently being held at San Francisco County Jail 5 with no bail.
Stanford Spokesman E.J. Miranda told the News on Thursday that Mr. Shirvell is no longer an employee of Stanford. By at least March 13, Shirvell was removed from the Stanford Admissions staff listing.
Yale-NUS Spokesperson Fiona Soh did not comment on the incident and instead sent the News a statement attributed to Yale-NUS Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Joanne Roberts that read, “James Shirvell worked as a dean’s fellow with Yale-NUS College from 2014 to 2015, after graduating from Yale University. While at the College, he was a valued member of the community who helped to coordinate residential life and athletics activities on campus.”
Yongzhi Seow GRD ’19, who knew Shirvell while studying as an undergraduate at Yale-NUS from 2014 to 2016, first heard of the news of the stabbing incident and Shirvell’s arrest from members of his former first-year counselor group from Yale-NUS. He said that the group members — while belonging to a different residential college — were “all unanimously shocked by the news, and many of us were concerned and upset.” Seow said that he imagines alumni from Cendana — the residential college in which Shirvell advised first-year students — would have even stronger reactions.
“Amongst my friends (alumni), there is a wide degree of shock and sadness. Some initially were more hesitant about believing the story, although I imagine most have come round to accepting it. The classes of 2017 and 2018, who have known James longest, certainly are aware of it,” said Seow.
However, he added that since he is currently studying for his master’s at Yale, he does not have a clear picture of the Yale-NUS current campus climate.
According to the L.A. Times, prosecutors in court records said that two witnesses heard a woman “yelling for help across the street and found her on the stairs to a home, bleeding profusely.” The records state that when officers entered the home, they found Shirvell “lying on the kitchen floor covered in blood.” At the hospital, the woman told an officer that she and Shirvell took the hallucinogen, and that Shirvell went to the kitchen, grabbed a 9-inch butcher knife and stabbed her repeatedly before she broke free, according to the L.A. Times.
The L.A. Times reported the victim is expected to survive despite suffering multiple wounds to her face, scalp, back and shoulder and undergoing emergency surgery for a collapsed lung.
Shirvell graduated from Yale College in 2014 and immediately began working as a dean’s fellow at Yale-NUS College, according to his LinkedIn profile. As a dean’s fellow, Shirvell “advised over 100 students as a residential advisor” and “helped create the first liberal arts college in Singapore,” according to his profile. In November 2016, he began working at Stanford as an admissions counselor before becoming the assistant director of admission in June 2018.
Seow said that as a dean’s fellow, Shirvell helped oversee the Athletics Office and the residential college Cendana, where he also counseled a group of Yale-NUS first-year students. Seow told the News that Shirvell was a responsible and positive influence in the community who was “definitely well-liked by the Yale-NUS community, both by staff and students, especially the athletic team leaders.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Shirvell graduated from Yale College in 2014 with a degree in environmental studies. He was also a member of Yale’s track and field team, participating in middle distance events. According to Yale University Athletics, Shirvell was elected as the 2013-2014 men’s track and field captain and won the Gardner Millett Memorial Trophy for an “outstanding member of the Men’s Track and Field Team who excels in Sportsmanship, Courage, and Inspiration.”
Shirvell’s next court date is scheduled for April 5.
This article has been updated to reflect the Yale Daily News print edition of March 25.
Sammy Westfall | firstname.lastname@example.org