On Sunday, Feb. 13, Whittier College sent an email informing the campus community that there had been a student death on campus. The identity of the student as 18-year-old, first-year Kavari “Doji” Degree was released through email on Friday, Feb. 18; this announcement also revealed that Doji Degree was a biology major who graduated high school from North Carolina, and that he was a “bright young man with tremendous promise.” Classes were canceled for the Whittier College community on Feb. 14, following the initial announcement of Degree’s death.
In the initial email sent to members of the Whittier College community, no specific information was given; it only informed recipients that a student had passed and to avoid Ball Hall as coroners and Whittier PD responded to the death. Those who lived in Ball Hall were evacuated and later informed they would have alternative residency in Double Tree at Whittier. Residents were allowed to return to their dorm on Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Each email update about this tragic event included some of the following resources for the Whittier College community:
- Call Campus Safety at 562.907.4211 and ask to speak to ‘the counselor on call.’ This service is available 24/7.
- Text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line, 741741, for 24/7 assistance.
- The California Warm Line, 855.845.7415, offers 24/7 support.
- Email Whittier College’s Counseling Center at email@example.com for additional support.
- Let’s Talk virtual or in-person consultations are available from Monday to Friday; view the online schedule here.
An unofficial memorial had been set up in front of the entrance to Ball Hall after the first announcement. On Friday, Feb. 18, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. the College provided an opportunity to gather at the Rock with Counseling Center staff present.
As campus will reopen this Monday, Feb. 21, the College is holding an in-person vigil for Doji Degree so that the community can remember him and mourn. This event will take place on Thursday, Feb. 24 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on the North Lawn. All students, staff, and faculty are invited to join this event. If anyone would like to offer a helping hand in organizing this event, please reach out to the Dean of Students office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As stated by the Feb. 18 email from Whittier College, “We continue to encourage you to pay close attention to your emotional wellbeing and to take advantage of the opportunities to come together with others.”
Featured Image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus