Updated 6/7/10, 3:04 p.m. CST
A 25-year-old male student was found dead in a bathroom of the University Library around 9:20 a.m. Sunday, May 30, an Evanston Police Department news release said.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the identity of the student as Brian Tsay, who was enrolled in the School of Continuing Studies. Tsay attended New Trier Township High School and graduated in 2003, a friend said.
A memorial gathering will be held Monday, June 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Vail Chapel, Lloyd R. Kittlaus, director of Lutheran campus ministry, said in an email. The SCS Associate Dean for Student and Alumni Services Timothy Gordon said in an email that a moment will be dedicated to Tsay at SCS Convocation on June 19 in Alice Millar Chapel.
The police release said that there was no sign of foul play or indication as to the cause of death. Evanston Police Commander Tom Guenther said that police were awaiting results from the medical examiner’s toxicology report.
A representative from the medical examiner’s office said that the office would not rule on a cause of death for 8 to 12 weeks, after the toxicology report is completed.
“The UP are assisting the Evanston police in the investigation,” Vice President for University Relations Alan Cubbage said. Dean of Students Burgwell Howard said the student community did not face any threat.
Police guarded library doors for much of Sunday morning, and police cars were parked outside the library and nearby on Campus Drive. A large black van was parked near the library’s loading dock. University Police Commander Darren Davis was at the scene but did not offer comment.
Vice President for Student Affairs William Banis announced the death to the Northwestern community in a statement released Sunday afternoon by email and on the Northwestern website.
The University Library did not open that Sunday, but were open according to schedule the rest of the week. Parts of the library remained closed Monday, but staff members said it was due to reduced staffing on Memorial Day and had nothing to do with the incident.
“The Library remained closed until the police had finished all their work and until the area was certified clean and safe,” University Librarian Sarah Pritchard wrote in an email Monday.
Library employee Megan Sugrue arrived for her 12:30 p.m. shift, but a police officer at the main entrance turned her away. The Weinberg senior did not receive any prior notice that the library was closed. McCormick sophomore Jack LaFreniere, who works in Deering Library, received an e-mail from a co-worker who had been similarly turned away. As of 2:30 p.m., he had not heard anything from his supervisors. Pritchard said that that library administrators informed some staff members of the situation Sunday morning.
“Any loss to any university is very difficult to deal with,” Howard said. “We are making sure services are available to students who are affected by this incident and to those who knew the student.”
The following is a news release from the Vice President for Student Affairs, William Banis
Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:
I am saddened to report that a 25 year-old male student in the School of Continuing Studies was found dead in the University Library on the Evanston campus shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday, May 30, 2010. The Evanston Police Department, with assistance from University Police, is investigating and awaiting information on the cause of death from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The preliminary investigation indicates that there is no threat or potential danger to other members of the Northwestern community.
The University is not releasing further details regarding the student’s identity at this time at the request of his family.
On behalf of Northwestern, I offer our deepest sympathy to our student’s family, friends and fellow students. The death of any one member of our community affects all of us.
The University Library will be closed on Sunday, May 30, 2010. Members of the Northwestern community may use the Science and Engineering Library, 2233 Tech Drive, today. The University Library will re-open on Monday, May 31, 2010.
Staff members from Counseling and Psychological Services are available for students who may wish to speak with a counselor. CAPS can be contacted at 1-2151 or 1-8100 after hours.
Again, we extend our deepest sympathy.
Vice President for Student Affairs
ISSUANCE DATE: June 1st 2010
REFERENCE: Death Investigation
On May 30th 2010, at approximately 9:20 a.m. Northwestern University Evanston campus library staff discovered an unresponsive male in a men’s bathroom within the library. Evanston Fire Paramedics responded and determined that the subject was deceased. A joint investigation was then initiated by Evanston police and Northwestern University police.
Subsequent investigation determined that the deceased was a 25 year-old Northwestern student, identified as one Brian Tsay. Preliminary investigation indicates their were no signs of foul play or physical evidence indicating cause or manner of death.
Furthering this investigation, a postmortem examination was conducted by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, cause and manner of death still remain undetermined. This case is now pending a Cook County Medical Examiners toxicology examination, results expected in several weeks.
Additional reporting by Caty Enders and Gus Wezerek.