University student passes away Sunday
Medical examiners cannot yet confirm cause of death of fraternity brother, psychology student Joe Arwood
Fourth-year College student Joe Arwood passed away Sunday morning at the University Medical Center. The cause of death is not yet known.
Arwood, a member of Sigma Phi Society, was found unconscious at the house Friday morning by one of his fraternity brothers, who then administered CPR, said Psychology Prof. Michael Kubovy, Arwood's distinguished major thesis adviser. Arwood then was taken to the Medical Center for treatment, said Miles Sisson, the president of the University's chapter of the fraternity, which is commonly known as SERP.
Medical examiners have yet to release any information about the death, University spokesperson Carol Wood said, adding that the University does not know when the tests will be completed.\n"What we're doing is waiting for the medical examiner and for Joe's parents to release any information on cause of death, and we don't know when we'll have that," she said. "That could be a week - we just don't know when."
Arwood passed away just before noon on Sunday, Wood said. During the weekend, various University deans and administrators - including Pat Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer - made themselves available for his family, fraternity brothers and friends.
"Everybody was there all weekend for anything that the family needed," she said. "I think more than anything, they just wanted prayers through the weekend."
The fraternity brothers were joined by Lampkin, Dean of Students Allen Groves, Asst. Dean of Students Nicole Eramo and Matt Zimmerman of Counseling and Psychological Services, who all offered their support. In addition, the Office of the Dean of Students made hotel reservations for Arwood's parents, Groves said, when they arrived at the hospital Friday evening.
Arwood was active in his fraternity, taking the position of House Manager for the past year, said fourth-year Engineering student Matthew Restivo, a first-year hallmate and fraternity brother of Arwood.
Outside of the fraternity, he volunteered at HELP Line, the University's student-run anonymous telephone service for those looking for someone to speak to about any emotional turmoil or problems.\n"He was always a good person to talk to," Restivo said.
Kubovy expressed similar sentiments, adding that he knew Arwood through both his psychology lab and a seminar this semester.
"He was a charming, articulate, passionate person," Kubovy said. "Wherever he went, he was very well-liked and highly respected."
As a psychology major, Arwood's research primarily focused on music and the perception of rhythm, Kubovy said. He had spent the past year studying the brain mechanisms that allow humans to perceive rhythm and was about to start writing his thesis before graduating in May.
"I have little doubt that eventually this work would've been published, and he would've been a co-author, so it's really a terrible loss," Kubovy added. "He might eventually have gone to graduate school in cognitive science, and I think he would've done very well."
Kubovy added that Arwood also had taken classes with his wife, Music Prof. Judith Shatin.
"He was talented in many areas. He was studying Arabic [and] he studied songwriting with my wife, and she spoke very highly of him," he said.
Groves added that the Office of the Dean of Students is available to anyone who needs support and is hoping to continue outreach to any such students. Because of the location of the fraternity house, many students passing by were able to discern that a tragedy had occurred, Groves said.
"The way this works is not something you wake up the next day and it's over, and that oftentimes you feel better for 3-4 days, and then it hits you again," he said. "This is going to be a challenging situation for all of them to get through."
He also encouraged members of the University community to rely on one another to deal with the situation, noting that the community is relatively close-knit for the size of the school.
"It's not easy. A young person is not supposed to die. It's unnatural," he said, "and when that happens, that just brings very close to home the relationships that you have, the fragility of life and the fact that somebody you love is gone and is gone unexpectedly."
Wood said Arwood's family has yet to decide upon any funeral arrangements. The University will have a memorial service, as well, but the details have not been determined.
"We're really just trying to wait and follow the parents' lead right now and give them they time they need," she said. "This is hard on everybody. A loss like this just has a ripple effect on the University"