Oakland University community reacts to student suicide

By Kay Nguyen

Oakland University students, staff and faculty are gradually learning more about the student suicide that occurred Tuesday.

Members of the campus community are mourning the loss of Oakland University student Corey Jackson, 19. Students, staff and faculty were notified via e-mail around 7 p.m. Tuesday of an apparent suicide.

The OU Police Department began investigating the death of the residential student Tuesday, which occurred on campus.

The death has been confirmed as a suicide by the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office. Their investigation is now closed after determining the cause and manner of death.

“All indications point to the fact that the student chose to take his own life,” OUPD Chief Sam Lucido said Tuesday night.

OUPD has now confirmed and deemed it an official suicide. The investigation is ongoing.

“We want to find out every piece of information about anything … any circumstance that may be related to this situation,” Lucido said.

Students have organized a candlelight vigil in memory of the student scheduled for 10 p.m. Wednesday by the Bear Lake bridge outside Vandenberg and Wilson halls.

“I know, too, that we as a campus community will keep his family and closest friends in our thoughts and prayers,” OU President Gary Russi said in a letter sent out to students, staff and faculty.

“This is very sad news for the community,” Lucido said. “As Police Chief, I feel like all of these kids belong to me — I just feel terrible about this, as does the whole community.”

Jackson was a sophomore and a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He lived on campus.

Though he never chose to formally initiate, he kept in close contact with members of TKE.

TKE President Nick McCormick wore a purple shirt today in remembrance of recent gay suicides. According to him, Jackson “had recently come out and seemed to be okay with it.”

“It seems that he had been despondent about personal matters,” said Oakland County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa J. Dragovic.

However, Dragovic explained that his office’s statutory responsibility was to determine a medical cause of death.

“I think the bullying may have something to do with it; maybe it was some negative support he may have gotten,” McCormick said. “If I had to give it a guess, the perception of his lifestyle might have had an effect on him.”

McCormick stressed that the TKE brotherhood is “about being open to each other” and that there has been an outpouring of support from the TKE and campus communities.

“I couldn’t believe what happened; I thought there was a huge misunderstanding at first,” said Carl Miller, a TKE member. “People should be more accepting of others. It would help.”

Anika Khan, a sophomore majoring in information technology, is close friends with many TKE members.

“I was so shocked that I couldn’t cry when I found out,” said Khan, who also noted she felt the resources of the Gender and Sexuality Center should be advertised more. “I was close to him, but I wish we were closer.”

Because TKE members were close with Jackson, they each honored his memory by wearing black ribbons that usually signify a brother’s passing.

“We have absolutely no indication at this time that bullying or harassment was part of this,” Lucido said. “Having said that, we’re also still conducting a very lengthy investigation.”

Those having difficulty coping with the situation have access to three fully-licensed psychologists at the counseling center inside Graham Health Center. Counseling is available on a walk-in basis. Information packets are also available.

“We have cleared as much time as we can here to talk to students today,” said Graham Counseling Center Interim Director David Schwartz. “It doesn’t have to be a formal appointment.”

In addition to more walk-in counseling availability, the center’s staff will be speaking with various classes and campus organizations through the next few days.

Students and community members who may have information relevant to the OUPD investigation should call 248-370-3333.

University officials will provide additional information as it becomes available and The Post will continue to report findings.


– Center for Student Activities Director Jean Ann Miller said crisis hotline numbers and other resources are available for students. Students can call the suicide hotline at 800-784-2433. Additional information can be found here.

– A list of warning signs regarding those who appear to be troubled can be found here.

– Graham Counseling Center: 248-370-3465

– Gender and Sexuality Center: 248-370-4333