Thoughtfulness, inclusiveness must expand with enrollment

Sept. 30, 2013

The Scribe Editorial Board
[email protected]

UCCS lost an esteemed friend and colleague Sept. 13 when Marge Mistry, senior languages and culture instructor, died in a traffic accident.

Ever since Mistry began teaching at UCCS in 1991, she had developed countless relationships with faculty, staff and students, including those of us at The Scribe who had the privilege of working with her serving as faculty advisor for UCCS Radio.

While UCCS did release a campus-wide announcement Sept. 16 notifying the community about Mistry’s death, the lack of communication with students thereafter is troubling.

This should serve as a reminder that the grieving process does not end at a notification of death. It also extends to memorial services, which some students unknowingly missed.

The day after Mistry’s death, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak notified faculty and staff about the accident via email and mentioned memorial services were pending.

On Sept. 17, information about her two Sept.18-19 memorial services was published on Communique, an online news publication for UCCS faculty and staff.

Faculty and staff later received an email with a link to the Communique update. Students, who were not emailed the link or notification of services, were left out of the loop altogether.

If faculty and staff kept up to date with Communique updates, they had the opportunity to attend the services beginning the next day.

But how many students know about Communique? More importantly, how many students who wanted to attend found the information in time?

Yes, we can all access alternative news sources to find such information on our own. However, word could have been spread throughout the campus better, ensuring everyone who wanted to attend the services had an opportunity to pay their respects.

Mistry taught at UCCS for more than 20 years. News of her memorial services deserved to reach everyone whose lives she touched, students included.

Every student, staff and faculty member should be entitled to the same courtesy because UCCS is not only a university – it’s a community.

Acting like a community is especially important when UCCS is continually shattering enrollment records, which means we form new connections with one another every day.

Everyone grieves differently, so families may opt to hold private services, which should be respected. But when a service is open, sometimes a few extra faces from UCCS can help comfort family members when they see just how many people care for their loved one.

According to Tom Hutton, executive director of University Advancement, the university is open to including students on notices about upcoming memorial services.

He indicated the notices could be sent to every student email but also noted the university was trying not to overwhelm student inboxes.

We at The Scribe are willing to receive that extra email.