Vigil planned after body of GVSU student found on Allendale campus

Ottawa County

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities are investigating a suspicious death on Grand Valley State University’s campus in Allendale.

Police said a runner found the body near the intramural athletic fields, south of West Campus Drive on Saturday morning.

“There was really big sense of disbelief at first,” Mikaela Brzuchowski, a junior at the university, said. “It feels like our entire community is mourning.”

University president Philomena V. Mantella said the body has been identified as a GVSU student and the family has been notified. However, the student’s name has not been released to the public.

A photo of police on the scene after a body was found on Grand Valley State University’s campus in Allendale Township on Dec. 12, 2020.
A photo of police on the scene after a body was found on Grand Valley State University’s campus in Allendale Township on Dec. 12, 2020.

“This is a jarring and shocking event for all of us. This tragedy reminds us of the importance of each member of our university community. Please keep the student’s family in your thoughts and offer your support to those who have lost a friend and fellow student,” Mantella said in a weekend message to the campus.

Brzuchowski told News 8 she is organizing a candlelight vigil to honor the student. She said it’s happening on campus at the clock tower Wednesday evening. She said it’s a way to start helping her community heal.

“We are Laker strong,” Brzuchowski said. “We are Laker together and we are here to show our respects and support them in any way that we can.”

Brzuchowski said she is requiring everyone to wear a mask and to socially distance. She’s also encouraging students and staff to bring their own candle or flashlight to cut down on the spread of any germs.

The GVSU Police Department, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police are investigating the death. They asking the Laker community to refrain from spreading misinformation about the case on social media.

In a Sunday morning post on Facebook, campus police dispelled rumors that a fight seen in a video circulating on social media was involved. They said that fight, which also involved a white car, was a separate incident and was also under investigation.

Mantella said additional staffers would be on campus this weekend. She reminded students they can reach out to the GVSU Counseling Center or the Dean of Students Office.

Anyone with information about the death is asked to contact campus police at 616.331.3255 or Silent Observer at 877.887.4536.

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