Parents, students have safety concerns after death of UWL student
An investigation into death is underway
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The death of a University of Wisconsin–La Crosse student is under investigation.
The university said 19-year-old Connor Glynn of Hartland, Wisconsin was found unresponsive in Angell Hall by friends on Sunday night. The cause of death is still under investigation, but Chancellor Joe Gow said it could be related to a drug overdose.
The university sent a campus-wide email to students late Thursday night about Glynn’s death, the second campus-wide email sent by the university this week. The first went out Monday, warning students about reports of people getting into unlocked dorm rooms and making unwanted advances toward women.
The combination of these two separate incidents this week has led to concern, especially among parents of students.
UW-L students of all ages said they feel perfectly safe on campus.
“I work at the Kwik Trip not too far from campus and walking back and forth at night, I’ve never felt unsafe,” UW-L freshman Tori Miller said.
“I feel like every campus building has locks, all the stations that we have all over the place for emergency situations you can press the button, and I feel like even campus police, they’re patrolling all the time so they make it safe for us,” senior Matthew Besch said.
“I lived on campus for two years and I like the blue light program. I’ve never had to use them, but I’ve always felt safe. You always see campus cops driving around. I live off campus now, but I still feel safe,” junior Carley Ney said.
But Dean of Students and Vice Chancellor Paula Knudson said Friday she has been taking calls from concerned parents all week asking questions about campus safety.
University officials said they understand the concerns, but parents shouldn’t fear.
“We don’t have any safety concerns anywhere on campus, if we did, we would be taking quick action to mitigate those,” Knudson said.
“These kinds of things remind us that we have over 10,000 students and 1,000 people on our staff and faculty. When you have that many people there will be bad things that happen from time to time, we’ve had a bit of a rough patch here. We’ll carry on, but losing a student is always the most traumatic thing that can happen and unfortunately that has happened,” Gow said.
UWL said there is a lot of speculation right now around campus and among parents about what may have caused the death of Glynn, Knudson asks for everyone to be patient while the investigation continues.
“There are a lot of rumors flying around and while it’s human nature to want to connect the dots and to have answers, that we ask them to all be respectful of the family and those closest, to wait for an investigation to play out before we start drawing conclusions,” Knudson said.
UWL said the friends who found Glynn in Angell Hall immediately began CPR until emergency responders arrived.
Now students and staff on campus and, specifically those in Angell Hall, are doing their best to understand Glynn’s death and go through the grieving process, while also still trying to prepare for finals coming up in about three weeks.
Thursday night, friends gathered in the basement of Angell Hall to discuss how they would honor Glynn’s memory. They plan to paint and dedicate a mural in his honor.
University leaders said they’re not certain the exact day and time of Glynn’s death. Staff were told Thursday he had passed.
UW-L said an autopsy will be performed soon and the investigation into the cause of death is ongoing.