January 15, 2012 —One year ago, on January 15, 2011, the University community was deeply saddened by the untimely and tragic death of one of our students, Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. That event is etched in the memories of faculty, students, and staff, and most painfully for those who knew and loved Jeffrey. Let me again express my sympathy for the Bordeaux family as well as for the family of Daren Venable, who were also involved in this terrible tragedy.
It is important to remember signal events in University life, including sorrowful occasions such as this. Doing so helps us to recall the wonderful qualities of Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. as well as the profound effects of his loss on our community.
It is also fitting at this time of remembrance to reaffirm our commitment to each other and to the community that we together create and sustain together. We are stronger for doing so, both in good and difficult times. I encourage all of us to take comfort in that fact and, despite our sadness, to recognize the vast capacity for good of which we are all capable.
July 27, 2011-- I today am accepting the Report and Recommendations of the University of Rochester's Office of Counsel with respect to the tragic death of Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. on January 15, 2011. I also am making this Report public today.
April 21, 2011-- Monroe County Court Judge John DeMarco has issued a not guilty verdict in the criminal case involving University of Rochester student Daren Venable. This verdict deserves our respect. No one who was not in the courtroom throughout the entire proceeding can fully appreciate the full extent of evidence that was presented to Judge DeMarco.
The overarching tragedy remains that our student, Jeffrey Bordeaux, Jr., has died. Let me again articulate my sadness and empathy for both families. Regardless of the trial verdict, the death of Jeffrey Bordeaux will weigh heavily on Daren Venable the rest of his life.
Criminal trials are often extremely painful because of tragic events like that which occurred here. In our nation, criminal trials are the ultimate way in which we determine guilt or innocence.
I urge all in our community to respect this verdict, regardless of their feelings.
Let us also always remember Jeffrey Bordeaux, Jr.
April 10 -- The tragic death of our undergraduate student Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. may be the center of local media attention when the trial of Daren Venable begins on April 11 in Monroe County Court. Daren is a student in the College who is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Jeffrey and has been withdrawn from the University while the legal case proceeds.
What occurred on our campus in those early morning hours of January 15 will forever affect the Bordeaux and Venable families. My heart continues to go out to both families.
I want to encourage students, faculty, and staff to have faith in our justice system. The trial may reveal information not previously known. I urge everyone to remain objective and to uphold the values of due process and the presumption of innocence before a verdict.
Some students have been subpoenaed and will be required to tell the court what they saw or know. The testimony may be used by the prosecutor or the defense attorney in ways that may make it seem as if the student were taking sides or testifying for or against a friend. This is the way trials work. Students who have been subpoenaed do not have a choice about telling the court what they know or a choice about how any facts they give may be argued as relevant to various positions taken by the lawyers.
Let us support our students and others at the University who have felt the deep pain of this situation most directly. The College Dean of Students Office, the University Counseling Center, and the Interfaith Chapel are ready to offer aid.
Arrangements have been made for UCC counselors to be available during the afternoons and evenings on the days of the trial. You can connect with a counselor by calling (585) 275-3113.
Chaplains from the Interfaith Chapel also will be available in the afternoons and evenings of the trial for support. If you would like to speak with a chaplain, you can stop by the chapel during the day or set up a meeting by calling (585) 275-4321 (day) or (585) 319-9395 (evening).
Together, we will deal with the aftermath of the trial and look for constructive ways to respond to the needs of the University community.
Students lead a walk from River Campus to Aenon Baptist Church to attend a memorial service for fellow student Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. '12
January 21 -- A memorial service for Jeffrey Bordeaux, who died following a fight on the River Campus on Saturday, Jan. 15, took place on Friday, Jan. 21, at the Aenon Missionary Baptist Church in Rochester.
The family of Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. requests that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations be made in Jeffrey's name to the Tony Jordan Youth Sports Foundation. Each year, about 4,000 Rochester youths ages 5 to 15 participate.
The Tony Jordan Youth Sports Foundation
P.O. Box 13702
Rochester, New York 14613
January 20 -- Two fraternities affected by the tragic events of January 15, Sigma Beta Rho and Delta Upsilon, have each issued statements of concern and condolence, and they are reprinted below.
The fraternities have asked that the statements speak for themselves and members will not be speaking with the press.
Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc.: The national officers and all of the members of Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity Inc. offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and classmates of Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. who died following the tragedy that occurred on Saturday, January 15th. As with the other members of the campus and community, we are shocked and deeply saddened by what occurred. Our thoughts also are with Daren Venable, an undergraduate officer of our Kappa Chapter at the University of Rochester, who has been arrested and charged in this case. As we await the outcome of the police investigation and legal process, our thoughts and prayers are with the Bordeaux family and everyone affected in our community.
The Brothers of Sigma Beta Rho
Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc. is a multicultural interest fraternity dedicated to the pillars of Society, Brotherhood, and Remembrance.
Delta Upsilon Fraternity: We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred this past weekend. Our brotherhood shares in the grief felt throughout our University community, and our hearts go out to all affected by this terrible loss. We would like to take this opportunity to share our appreciation and thanks for the support provided to us and the student body from the University administration, alumni, and members of the larger Rochester community. We hope to help in extending support to the University community at this challenging time and have begun conversations with the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence on a campus-wide awareness event in the near future. Our student body has truly shown that, even in times of great difficulty, we can come together as one to support each other.
The Brothers of Delta Upsilon
Delta Upsilon is a non-secret fraternity dedicated to building better men through an unwavering commitment to our founding principles: the promotion of friendship, the development of character, the diffusion of liberal culture, and the advancement of justice.
January 19, 10 a.m. -- Based on information that we know at this time, the tragedy that occurred at the University of Rochester appears solely to have involved an altercation between two of our students, Jeffrey Bordeaux and Daren Venable. Both were outstanding students. Both were well liked and accomplished. Neither had any record of disciplinary problems at the University.
This was a terrible tragedy that will touch the lives of the Bordeaux family, the Venable family, and Daren Venable for as long as they live. I know I speak for the entire University community in articulating our grief to all involved. No parent, no person should have to endure such pain.
It is for the justice system to determine questions of criminal guilt or innocence. I ask all to respect the integrity of our legal system and to accord Daren Venable the presumption of innocence before and during any trial. This is a hallmark of American justice and a vital strength of our society.
As a University we strive to provide a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff. When a tragedy of this dimension occurs, it is important to step back and ask if there is anything we should do in the future to make our University a safer place.
I have charged Sue Stewart, the University General Counsel, to lead an internal review, focusing on: (1) whether the University had appropriate policies when the events of January 15th occurred and whether they were followed on January 15th; (2) how well the University responded to these events; and (3) whether steps should be taken to improve the University's preventive and response capabilities in the future.
To ensure candor on the part of all individuals, I have asked this to be an internal review.
I do anticipate summarizing to the public what we learned at an appropriate time in the future.
The ultimate question is what can we learn from this tragedy? How can we strengthen our community at the University of Rochester?
January 16, 8 a.m. -- Students, faculty, and staff gathered at the Interfaith Chapel Saturday evening to support one another and to remember Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. '12, who died early Saturday morning after a fight in a fraternity house. Personal stories from his father, Jeffrey Sr., and his sister, Deremi, brought tears and laughter to an overflow audience of more than 500 members of the University community who attended the chapel ceremony. University President Joel Seligman and Assistant Dean of Engineering Lisa Norwood repeated the need for sharing with one another when adversity and sadness feel overwhelming. "To open up your heart makes you stronger," Seligman said. The gathering ended with each person lighting a candle and leaving the chapel in silence.
January 15, 1 p.m. --As you know from the news I shared earlier today, we lost a member of our community this morning. Rochester Police have now given us permission to reveal his name. Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr., a junior majoring in political science, was an active, well-known, and well-liked member of the University community.
Jeffrey was a winner of two scholarships from the Gilman Foundation and IES, both to support his study in Shanghai, China, to start next month.
In an essay, Jeffrey attributed his success to “a strong mother, a desire to work, and willingness to learn from different experiences.” He also was a member of the varsity track and field team and worked the maximum 20 hours a week to support his education.
Our profound grief goes out to Jeffrey’s family, especially his mother Delores Forest and his father Jeffrey Bordeaux, and his many friends. Jeffrey was a remarkable young man, an active member of the campus community, and known and liked by many on campus. His loss leaves a sense of terrible emptiness for all of us.
Our hearts also go out to Daren Venable, who has been charged in Jeffrey’s death, and his family and friends. This is also a tragedy for all of them.
A community gathering will be held tonight at 6 o’clock at the Interfaith Chapel on the River Campus to give all of us a chance to express our grief at this terribly saddening event.
January 15, 9 a.m. -- I am writing to express my great sadness over the death of one of our undergraduates early this morning. His parents have been notified, but we have been asked by investigators to withhold disclosure of his name until official confirmation of his identity is completed.
Although we are still gathering information, what we know now is that police responded shortly after 1 a.m. to a reported fight at the Delta Upsilon fraternity. Paramedics administered emergency aid and took our student to Strong Memorial Hospital, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
University Security Services are cooperating with Rochester Police in their investigation. The Rochester Police are currently interviewing witnesses and will have further information later. Based on the information available to us at this time, this appears to be an isolated incident and there is no indication of any threat to others on the University campus.
Any unexpected death in our community is a shock and a profound loss. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our student.
Campus counselors are already talking to students, and I encourage any student to take advantage of our counseling services by calling 275-3113.
At times like this, it is important to remember that as a community we are dedicated to each other’s well-being and we are stronger together when we support one another, especially in difficult times.
When there are further updates from the police and security, they will be posted on the University’s homepage at www.rochester.edu.
January 15, 4:30 a.m. -- Shortly after 1 a.m. today, Jan. 15, an undergraduate student was critically injured in a fight with another student in a house on the Fraternity Quadrangle.
The injured student was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital immediately. Physicians and emergency personnel gave him immediate aid but were not able to revive him.
The other student was taken into custody by Rochester Police, who are leading the investigation. Police are not searching for any other suspects. Student counseling and support services are available at 275-3113.
Updated information will be posted on the University’s homepage at www.rochester.edu and through regular messages.
Contact: Sharon Dickman