Skorton offers message of support to Cornell community

Dear Members of the Cornell Community,

As a community we have had a difficult Thanksgiving break, and our feelings of sadness and loss extend across our campus and beyond. I write to update you on the events of the past several days and to remind you of the resources that are available to help us through difficult times.

We lost a member of our community on Thanksgiving evening when Shannon Jones, an undergraduate in the College of Engineering, was killed during an apparent domestic dispute at her residence near campus. Professor Mason Peck has praised Shannon's role on Violet, the student satellite project team. "Shannon had an infectious enthusiasm for exploring space and building our future in it," he said. "She helped figure out how to make Violet's star tracker work, and when Violet launches next year and takes its first images of the stars, we'll have Shannon to thank for it."

Early Sunday morning our campus felt the effect of the death of Andres Lozano, an 18-year-old man from Miami, Florida. While Andres was not a member of our Cornell community, we feel his loss and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are grieving their more personal loss.

Then, later that day, four of our undergraduates were in an auto accident as they were returning to Cornell after break. We are hopeful as they continue their recovery. We send well-wishes to them and to their family and friends.

As a doctor, teacher and father, as well as Cornell's president, I want to reassure each of you — especially our students — that it is normal to feel sad or anxious at times, particularly when such tragedies occur. Pressures such as relationship problems, financial challenges and academic struggles can sometimes make us feel overwhelmed. Remember that your physical and mental well-being is the foundation on which your success is built. You are not alone. Your friends, your family, your teachers, your colleagues, and an array of counselors and advisors are ready to listen and help you through whatever you are facing. If you learn anything at Cornell, please learn to ask for help. It is a sign of wisdom and strength.

Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources and safety services, and Susan Murphy, vice president for student and academic services, join with me in asking you to reach out for help when you need it. There is a wide range of support services on and near campus. See the available resources at the bottom of this message. See the "Getting Care" section of for additional resources. Please consider taking advantage of these important services.

We are a caring community, where the struggles of one of us are a concern for all of us. Check in with friends and classmates if they seem to be in need. Take time for yourself and please ask for help when you need it. We are here for each other, and you are an important piece of what makes us whole.


David J. Skorton


Gannett Health Services 607-255-5155

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Medical Care for all enrolled students
  • Hours:
    Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Late day assessment and consultation: Monday to Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m.
  • 24/7 phone consultation with a medical or mental health care provider (for students or anyone with a concern about a student)
  • extensive online, campus, and community resources, including special information for parents

Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service (EARS) 607-255-EARS (3277)

  • Peer counseling for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Phone or drop in the EARS counseling room at 213 Willard Straight Hall
  • Hours:
    Sunday through Thursday: 3 to 11 p.m.
    Friday: 3 to 10 p.m.
    Saturday: 6 to 11 p.m.

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) 607-255-2673

  • Free and confidential guidance and support for faculty, staff, postdocs, visiting scholars, and retirees by phone or in person
  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cornell United Religious Work 607-255-4214

  • Consultation with clergy and spiritual leaders

Crisis Line 607-272-1616

  • Local 24/7 confidential (or anonymous) hotline service sponsored by Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service

The Advocacy Center 607-277-5000

  • Ithaca's hotline and community resource for sexual or relationship violence

Call 911 in an emergency requiring immediate assistance.

Visit for a comprehensive list of resources and services for the Cornell community.