Lavender's death not being treated as suspicious, Crady says

| 12/15/08 4:23pm

Cody Lavender, a member of the Class of 2010, died early Sunday morning while studying at the University of Edinburgh on the Dartmouth religion Foreign Study Program, according to College officials.

An article in The Scotsman, an Edinburgh-based Scottish newspaper, reported that Lavender fell from the fourth-floor balcony of one of the university's residence halls. Paramedics from the Scottish Ambulance Service responded to students' calls to the building at around 1 a.m. Lavender died from his injuries at the scene, The Scotsman reported.

"Everyone was devastated and shocked," Michael Chen '11, who was on the FSP with Lavender, said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth. "Cody was the happiest person on the entire trip."

Lavender was alone at the time of the incident, according to Chen, but had joined other students for dinner a few hours earlier and was planning to visit Paris with several FSP students on Tuesday.

Police are not currently treating Lavender's death as suspicious, Dean of the College Tom Crady said in an interview with The Dartmouth on Sunday. No new information about the incident has been made available since the initial report on Sunday, he said.

"Obviously, we're very concerned about not having more information than that,"Crady said. "At some point, there may be a formal statement made by the police, so that's what we're waiting for right now. They're going through their processes."

The individual authorized to speak to the press at the Lothian and Borders Police Department, which patrols Edinburgh, was not available when contacted by The Dartmouth on Monday evening, local time.

Crady said the College has made counselors and psychologists available at Dick's House for those students on campus. He has also been in contact with Lavender's family about a possible memorial service when students return from winter break, he said.

"[College President James Wright] called Cody's mom as well," he said. "They're very distressed, and we're trying to provide as much support from the College as possible."

The religion FSP students plan to hold a memorial at the University of Edinburgh's New College on Tuesday afternoon, Chen said.

"We're just deeply concerned and saddened by the news of this," Crady said. "Our heart goes out to Cody's family. We're trying to do what we can to provide as much support as possible."

The final examination schedule for the FSP students has been adjusted, according to Lindsay Whaley, associate dean for international and interdisciplinary programs. Students on the trip will not return from Edinburgh early, but will instead fly home in a few days as originally planned, Whaley said.

Lavender, a 20-year-old native of Tucson, Ariz., studied religion and women and gender studies at the College, according to his Facebook page. He was co-chair of Gender Sexuality XYZ, formerly the Gay-Straight Alliance, and served on the

staff of Aporia, the College's philosophy journal.

University of Edinburgh Security Services declined to comment when contacted by The Dartmouth on Sunday. Calls to the University's press office and the U.S. consulate in Edinburgh were unanswered as of 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday.