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Should Kansas University build a memorial for students who have died while attending the school?

Asked at Jefferson's, 743 Mass. on January 6, 2005

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Photo of Melissa Hider

“I think so. It would show support to the families and respect for the students who passed away.”

Photo of Erin Ballentine

“Yes, definitely. I think it’s important to commemorate those students.”

Photo of Cara Dehnert

“Sure. That’s a nice gesture to recognize them for their loyalty to the school.”

Photo of Jim Hodges

“No. Not unless there is extra money in the budget. Students are already facing higher tuition costs, so the money could probably be better spent elsewhere.”


madcow 13 years, 5 months ago

They can put the memorial in the middle of one of the new roundabouts...

har de har harrrr

Jay_Z 13 years, 5 months ago

Nice one madcow, let's take your idea to the city commission!

Au_contraire 13 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure a memorial would be in the deceased students' interests. If any money is to be spent, it should go towards tuition assistance in one form or another.

Jayhawk226 13 years, 5 months ago

I'll bet there are some very inexpensive methods of creating a "memorial"...we don't need a large statue, building or wall hoisted...just something small like a mid-sized garden. For every KU community members that passes away, perhaps an individual flower or tree can be planted. This way, their presence forever made a part of the KU campus and done so in an inexpensive manner.

bobbivh24 13 years, 5 months ago

I think that would be nice. The high school and college I attended both have one.

badger 13 years, 5 months ago

One of the hardest things about losing someone is the feeling, about a year and a half later, that everyone has forgotten her but you.

Years ago, one of my best friends found her roommate dead in their dorm room. She's still haunted occasionally by the fact that after the initial hubbub, no one seemed to care at all, even enough to investigate the cause of death fully (still undetermined, 7 years later). Having experienced my share of tragic loss (and I think maybe someone else's share, too) this year, I can attest to how hard it can be that everyone is talking about 'the dead guy' but no one really cares that he specifically is dead, just that there's a rumor and some sensationalism to discuss, and that 'good people' will go and 'be compassionate' to whatever grieving friends of his they can corner and forcibly administer comfort to.

Having some sort of memorial (I like the idea of a garden) within the community that has lost someone gives the people who have lost that person someplace to go, where their loved one is not forgotten and where the representation of the memory is tended with the care they'd give it themselves.

I wouldn't limit it to current students or automatically include former students, myself. I'd leave it open to petition and allow memorials to any KU student past or current, and any faculty or staff member past or current. Have a form that can be filled out and allow people to 'sponsor' the person's memorial with a donation of at least a dollar. Let them give more if they want, but don't tie donation size to marker size or put up plaques of donors' names or anything. Let it be entirely about the lost loved ones, and let it simply be a place where people are given the opportunity to establish some memorial for the loss of someone who was a part of this community.

Who's to say that it can't be a community memorial with active local involvement?

Hong_Kong_Phooey 13 years, 5 months ago

I will probably sound heartless, and I'm okay with that, but I think a memorial would be a waste of time and money. People die and that is a fact of life. Some people die young, some die old.

Badger, yes, people are going to try and force their consolation on friends of the deceased b/c I don't think people really know how to react in situations like that and they think that it's expected of them within the confines of social mores. Again, those same people are going to move on and "forget" about the deceased relatively quickly because they were not friends with that person. Besides, it does no one any good to sit around remembering endlessly. Yes, I have lost people, so I'm not talking from a point of naivety. You keep them in your heart and you move on.

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 13 years, 5 months ago

Under what circumstances would students be memorialized? Just because he or she was a student? What if he died of a drug overdose? What if she was drunk driving and was killed in an accident that also killed innocent people?

madcow 13 years, 5 months ago

Yeah... a memorial would be pretty much pointless. The tree planting idea would be cool, but eventually they will run out of room. I think they should put the money towards a Student Memorial Scholarship in the name of all the students.

Charlie Bannister 13 years, 5 months ago

Now I've heard everything. Their deaths are no more to be honored than my 82 year old grandfather who died. He was a great husband, father, and employee. There is no memorial for him, other than the headstone at the cemetery. That is where the memorial SHOULD be.

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