By Sydney Shaw
According to an email sent to College faculty, staff and students on Thursday, Feb. 11, alumnus Jeremy Wasserman died in his off-campus apartment in Ewing, N.J., on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The cause of his death is still under investigation, pending further study by the medical examiner, according to the email.
Wasserman, a criminology major, graduated in December 2015.
“(Jeremy) was an active member of student life at the college,” President R. Barbara Gitenstein wrote in the email announcing his death.
Originally from Pompton Lakes, N.J., Wasserman was a member of the College’s bowling team and a brother of Alpha Chi Rho (AXP), according to College spokesperson Dave Muha. According to the AXP website, Wasserman was tasked with incorporating safety and risk management-related precautions into AXP’s programs as the risk management chair on the fraternity’s executive board.
Rabbi Akiva Greenbaum announced via Facebook that the Shabbat on Saturday, Feb. 13, would be dedicated to Wasserman.
There will be a day service beginning at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at 1 p.m. in the Chabad House, located at 44 Chauncey Ave. in Ewing, N.J.
“Together with students, faculty, family and friends, we mourn the passing of a sweet and dear Jewish soul,” Greenbaum wrote in a post. “Jeremy Wasserman was a first class mentsch who inspired us with a sense of responsibility to help others.”
Wasserman’s friends also remember him as an overwhelmingly positive force in their lives.
“The TCNJ Club Bowling Team is deeply saddened by the loss of our teammate,” President James Napoli said. “Throughout his four years on the team, Jeremy was a dedicated student, competitor, e-board member, teammate and friend. His upbeat personality, sense of humor and infectious smile were constants at our practices and tournaments.”
Even those who didn’t know Wasserman too well were struck by his charisma.
“Each time I met him, he had a smile and we were able to exchange a few words,” said Mylin Batipps, a 2015 alumnus of the College. “I only met him three times… he was just so friendly and easygoing. He was lighthearted and didn’t take everything too seriously, which was something I admired.
“It says a lot that someone can leave such a lasting positive impression on you, even though that person has only been a part of your life for a few moments,” Batipps said.
The College first sent out an email and made phone calls announcing Wasserman’s death to faculty and students in the criminology department prior to sending out the campus-wide email announcement, according to Muha.
“The College, just generally as a practice, works to reach out to those who might have known the individual in order to give them a heads up and to offer support,” he said.
Gitenstein’s email detailed the resources the College has available for students and faculty struggling with this loss: Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), TCNJ Clinic and TCNJ Campus Police, as well as the Employee Assistance Program for employees of the College.
“Staff members from Counseling and Psychological Services are reaching out to Jeremy’s roommates and friends,” Gitenstein wrote in her email. “If you are concerned about someone (students, staff or colleagues), please reach out to the resources above. It’s OK to ask for help.”
Wasserman is the second student from the campus community to die this year. Junior computer science major Daniel Thielke died by suicide on Saturday, Sept. 19.
In the aftermath of tragedies such as these, administrators at the College stress the importance of offering support to fellow students who may be struggling to cope.
“It is incredibly sad,” Muha said. “We lost somebody who just earned their degree a couple of months ago and was really at the beginning of their life with so many doors open to them. It’s a tragic loss.”
General Counseling Resources
Resources for Students:
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Eickhoff Hall 107
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Forcina Hall 124
Hours: Monday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
TCNJ Campus Police
Contact Campus Police by dialing 911 from any campus phone or 609-771-2345 from a cell phone.
Resources for Employees at the College:
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Forcina Hall 124
After hours: 609-571-0677