Alexander Chernik found dead in Chittenden Hall

Student found deadThe whispers that filled the air on Central Campus were broken by the sobs of a male student, crying on his friend’s shoulder.Alexander Chernik was found dead in Chittenden Hall on Monday, Oct. 18 after speaking with a resident advisor (RA) for help the Friday before.An e-mail sent by Vice President of Campus and Student Life Thomas J. Gustafson stated said that the police were treating the incident as an untimely death.”It doesn’t involve any other students or individuals, and the police do not suspect foul play,” Director of University Communications Enrique Corredera said.Alex approached the two RAs on duty for Central Campus looking for someone to talk to, one of the on-duty RAs that night Lisa Rogers said.He talked to the male RA for two hours and was encouraged to contact the counseling center, Rogers said.”He looked anxious and distressed but wanted to work through it,” she said. “We both wish we could have realized exactly what he was asking about Friday night.”Six students, including former roommate Jorden Factor and Chittenden Hall resident and friend Wes McClung, found Chernik after his girlfriend made contact with someone on the floor, Factor said.If a student approaches an RA to talk or for help, the proper protocol is for the RA to contact the assistant residence director (ARD) or residence director (RD) on duty, Associate Vice President for Student and Campus Life Annie Stevens said.”If that ARD/RD on duty determines that counseling services are needed, they contact Police Services to access the on-call counselor,” Stevens said. “If the student is talking about self-harm, Police Services is contacted immediately.”Both the RA and ARD/RD on duty are required to submit a Residential Incident Report and/or document the situation by e-mail, she said.”Each situation can be very different and is totally dependent upon the student’s willingness [or] ability to seek assistance,” Associate Vice President for Student & Campus Life Annie Stevens said. “[In this case], the proper protocol was followed.Remembering AlexMcClung has a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery on the whiteboard outside his third floor dorm room in memory of Chernik reads “He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.””He was a good kid. Everybody liked him,” McClung said. “He was super friendly to everyone he met.”He’s not the only student to use his door to showcase the effect Chernik’s death has had on the community.The door of room number 317 reads “Alex, always a part of Chitty 3.”Students, faculty and staff gathered around the empty Howard Fountain on the main green on Friday for a gathering of remembrance.Students held candles and wiped away tears as friends told stories of how they would remember Alex.Stevens said that in light of his recent death, it is vital to look out for other students.”It’s important, especially now … to reach out to each other,” she said. “None of us are alone and we don’t have to feel alone.”