Students mourn Elizabeth Reimer ’24 as administration pledges more mental health support

An impromptu vigil on the Green Friday night honored the freshman, who died at home in New York on Wednesday.

by Lorraine Liu and Madeleine Bernardeau | 5/22/21 10:48pm

vigil-3

Shortly after her death, students created a memorial for Reimer using photos and candles and wrote down notes in memory of her.

by Madeleine Bernardeau / The Dartmouth

In the wake of the death of Elizabeth Reimer ’24, students gathered on the Green Friday evening to mourn. College President Phil Hanlon, meanwhile, announced additional support for mental health resources and adjustments for academic and COVID-19 policies in a Friday email to campus. 

Nearly 100 students gathered Friday evening on the lawn in front of Baker-Berry Library to honor Reimer. At about 8 p.m., students began to collect around a memorial of photos, candles and sentimental items. Many students wrote personal notes for Reimer and placed them in a container besides the memorial.

The impromptu vigil took the place of a protest that had been advertised on social media outlets, including Librex. A digital poster, circulated after Reimer’s death was announced, advertised an “all-class peaceful protest,” at which students could “demand action in honor of the lives lost” over the past academic year. Prior to the event, however, some additional messages circulated on social media arguing that it was too soon for a protest, and that more time was needed for students to mourn. 

Madeleine Bernardeau | The Dartmouth

Nearly 100 students sat on the lawn in front of Baker-Berry library Friday evening to mourn for Elizabeth Reimer '24.

The event was somber. Seated on the lawn, the crowd was mostly silent, save for quiet sniffles and the light sound of pens scratching small slips of paper; a jar containing notes filled quickly. Around midnight, roughly 15 students were still sitting on the lawn. 

As of Saturday, the memorial has been moved outside of Reimer’s door in North Fayerweather Hall in anticipation of rain. 

Reimer’s death is the fourth among the undergraduate student community this year. Beau DuBray ’24 died by suicide in November, Connor Tiffany ’24 died in March; his cause of death has not been publicly confirmed and Lamees Kareem ’22 died of a medical condition unrelated to COVID-19 in April.  

In an email sent to the Dartmouth community Friday afternoon, Hanlon announced additional support for the College’s mental health resources and adjustments to academic policies and COVID-19 restrictions.

“The pandemic has exacerbated many problems, but foremost among them has been mental health,” wrote Hanlon. “On this critical issue, we must do more to support our community.”  

In the announcement, Hanlon wrote that the College will add a second nurse to the on-call staff at Dartmouth College Health Service starting Friday evening — which he said would help lower the possibility that students calling for help are sent to voicemail — as well as two new counselors and a student wellness coordinator “as soon as possible.” College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email statement that the second nurse and counselors are new roles.

In January, Dean of the College Kathryn Lively said the College was searching for a case manager and an additional psychiatrist to hire at the Counseling Center. 

Hanlon also wrote that Dartmouth will allow all students to host two people who also reside on campus in their dorm room, citing the on-campus community’s full vaccination rate  — which surpassed 50% as of Friday — as a reason for the change. Lawrence wrote that the relaxed COVID-19 restrictions will last at least until the end of spring term.

Madeleine Bernardeau | The Dartmouth

According to the email announcement, an official candlelight vigil will take place on May 25 at 8 p.m. on the Green to commemorate the four undergraduate students who died during the academic year — as well as “to recognize the losses of others.” 

Additionally, Hanlon wrote that the College will extend the deadline to elect the non-recording option from May 19 to June 2, the last day of classes. The deadline to request an Incomplete in a class will also be extended from June 8, the last day of the examination period, to 4:30 p.m. on June 11, for all non-graduating students.

In the email, Hanlon also announced that the College will partner with the JED Foundation, a nonprofit that “protect[s] emotional health and prevent[s] suicide for... teenagers and young adults,” according to its website. In the fall, the College will work with JED to launch a four-year initiative offered by the organization that aims to achieve “systemic and enduring change,” Hanlon wrote.

A full obituary for Reimer will be published in the near future. If you would like to share a memory, please contact editor@thedartmouth.com.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!