Communities Cope With Student's Death

Greeks, Others Mourn Jarring Loss of Senior Chris Wootton, Killed Early Saturday Morning

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Correction Appended

Following the stabbing of UC Berkeley student and Sigma Pi fraternity member Chris Wootton, the Greek and campus communities are coming together to honor his life and provide support for students, faculty and staff.

Wootton, a 21-year-old senior nuclear engineering major, was fatally stabbed in the parking lot of the sorority Chi Omega early Saturday morning. He was transported to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley but died on the way, having suffered a wound to the chest.

Fraternities and sororities that hold Monday evening chapter meetings planned to wear formal wear to the meetings and hold a moment of silence in honor of Wootton, said Kevin Okimura, the vice president of external affairs for the Interfraternity Council.

Okimura said he expected Wootton's stabbing would "have a huge presence at our meeting."

Many Greek chapters also dropped off flowers and cards at the memorial outside Sigma Pi and brought meals to the fraternity's brothers over the weekend. Joe Mazzella, Sigma Pi president and Wootton's roommate, said his fraternity brothers came by the house Saturday to pay their respects and share memories of Wootton.

"Every single guy was here throughout the day, talking together, reflecting on the times we had with Chris," he said. "Everyone knew him; he was a mentor to a lot of brothers."

The fraternity Kappa Sigma postponed a blacklight party planned for Saturday night out of respect for Wootton.

Okimura said the brothers of his house, Tau Kappa Epsilon, were shocked by Wootton's murder and will strive to remember him.

"Obviously this is not going to be a thing that lasts a weekend and a week," he said. "I hope that we can do all that we can as a community to make sure Christopher Wootton is not forgotten. We're sort of in shock-we realize if a member of our own fraternity had gone through this how appalling that would be."

Some faculty in the nuclear engineering department are reaching out to Wootton's family as well with plans to award his degree posthumously, said Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard

"The family is aware that the campus is grieving with them, but no one is grieving in the exact same way that they are," he said.

Kim LaPean, communications manager for University Health Services, said counselors had been working in some fraternity and sorority houses over the weekend, including Sigma Pi.

"It was a combination of group counselling and just being there talking to the students and letting them know what resources are available, just to have support and a person there that understands what kind of trauma they're going through," she said.

LaPean said several requests for counseling had been received over the weekend, but it usually takes more time for people to ask for help.

She said counselors are changing their schedules to accommodate additional sessions and that students shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

"It's okay to grieve, it's okay to reach out and talk to someone," she said.

Poullard and Grahaeme Hesp, the campus director of fraternity and sorority life, said they planned to meet last night with Sigma Pi brothers to arrange a potential campus memorial service, which may be announced as early as today.

"I am working with Sigma Pi brothers to determine if, what and how a campus memorial will occur," Hesp said.

Mazzella said he was pleased with the support Sigma Pi has received from the Greek community.

"The community has been here for us," he said. "That's why they call it a Greek community-they're here when you need them."


Correction: Thursday, May 8, 2008
Tuesday's article "Communities Cope With Student's Death" quoted Kevin Okimura as saying that Tau Kappa Epsilon brothers were shocked by Chris Wootton's murder. At the present, the stabbing is classified as a homicide.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Amy Brooks at [email protected]

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Student Life
Image Campus graduate takes new first steps
UC Berkeley's graduation day this year was symbolic for graduate Austin Whi...Read More»
Student Life
Image Company helps students share virtually
With thousands of UC Berkeley students vacating the campus this week as ano...Read More»
Student Life
Image Ph.D. candidate helps create campus Mystery Hunt
In his spare time, UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Ankur Mehta breathes...Read More»
Student Life
Image Athletes splash into the fundraising scene
Swimming relays and belly flopping into the pool, members of UC Berkeley'...Read More»
Student Life
Image Symposium highlights social sciences
The third annual UC Berkeley Sociological Research Symposium held last Frid...Read More»
Student Life
Image CALPIRG strips to expose issues with cuts
Appearing naked behind poster board signs, members of UC Berkeley's CALPIR...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space