VCU addresses community following recent death of three students

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/AP) – School officials at Virginia Commonwealth University is reaching out to its community following the recent deaths of three students.

In separate incidents, two  students died in accidental falls over the weekend. Another student was killed in a car accident on October 28.

Richmond police say 25-year-old Benjamin G. Sykes died from a fall from elevated railroad tracks. The fall occurred Friday night. Sunday, 21-year-old Christopher J. Ducic was found unconscious on a city street. An autopsy concluded Ducic’s death was also the result of a fall. Both deaths were ruled accidental.

Sykes was a first-year student in the School of Dentistry. Ducic was a senior engineering student.

Last Wednesday, October 28, Lisa M. Rubi, a recent transfer, was killed in a car accident in Poquoson.

“A lot of students have been like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening,” said VCU student Shannon Wright. “It’s all happening at once.”

Wright grew up with Ducic and called him “the life of the party.”

“Chris’ fraternity, department, friends have been making posts on how he has changed their lives,” Wright added. “I think if anything, VCU will bounce back because Chris would bounce back with a funny joke or something to lighten the mood.”

VCU released the following statement to its school’s community on Monday:

To the VCU and VCU Health communities,

The recent deaths of three members of our VCU community have created great sorrow for the entire VCU family.

Benjamin Sykes, a first-year student in the School of Dentistry, passed away over the weekend. Christopher Ducic, a senior student in the School of Engineering, also passed away over the weekend. Both of these deaths were accidental and unrelated to each other.

Lisa M. Rubi, a recent transfer into the College of Humanities and Sciences, was killed in an automobile accident on Oct. 28 in Poquoson, Virginia.

The university has been in contact with the schools and those who are close to the students to make them aware of available university resources that provide support. We would like to remind all VCU students of these available university resources:

VCU Counseling Services on Monroe Park Campus
University Student Commons, Room 238
907 Floyd Ave.
(804) 828-6200
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

VCU Counseling Services on MCV Campus
Grant House, B011
1008 E. Clay St.
(804) 828-3964
Monday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Tuesday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For an emergency after hours, please call VCU Police dispatch at (804) 828-1234 and ask to speak to a therapist.

We are deeply saddened by these losses and our condolences go out to the students’ families and friends. Your thoughtful efforts to support those impacted by these tremendous losses are deeply appreciated.

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