Oakland University
Sunday, October 23, 2011

A letter to the campus community

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is with heavy hearts that we come together to try to make some sense of the death of two students on Saturday, Oct. 22. Jenna Balabuch and Rachel Ring were killed in an automobile accident on I-75 as they were making their way to a bookstore downtown. Another student, Shannon Waite, was critically injured and remains in the hospital.

Jenna and her friend Rachel, who had transferred to Grand Valley State University this year, were both fine students. They were members of the Sigma Tau Delta English honors society, and were simply doing what they did best when they died – continuing on their journey of education and enlightenment.

Any death among the Oakland University family diminishes us all, and the sudden death of two young, vibrant students is a particularly devastating blow. It is almost beyond our ability to comprehend such a tragedy.

In the days and weeks ahead, the university will make available free counseling resources so that anyone who needs to can talk to a professional counselor to help deal with their grief and loss. The Counseling Center can be reached at (248) 370-3465.

In addition, the families of Jenna, Rachel and Shannon will have the full extent of university resources available to them as they deal with this tragedy.

In the meantime, let’s come together – as we always do in times of tragedy – to help each other through this extraordinarily difficult period.

Jenna and Rachel have left us far too early, but we can honor their lives by remembering them with love, and by providing comfort and support to those who loved them. We can also support Shannon and her family by keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.


Gary D. Russi
President, Oakland University
A message from University President Gary Russi in the wake of Saturday's tragic accident.

Created by David Groves (groves@oakland.edu) on Sunday, October 23, 2011
Modified by David Groves (groves@oakland.edu) on Monday, October 24, 2011
Article Start Date: Sunday, October 23, 2011