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Continued: Nov. 12: Mankato campus shaken by 3rd death in 2 months

  • Article by: JEFF SHELMAN and CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 3, 2008 - 9:45 AM

While it's unclear whether alcohol played a role in Sunday's accident, third-year student Laura Pinilla said drinking is very much a part of the school's social scene.

"If you don't drink on the weekends, there's not much to do," she said.

University administrators are concerned about students' well-being after three deaths in such a short time.

Former prenursing student Amanda Jax died of acute alcohol poisoning after celebrating her 21st birthday Oct. 29. She had planned to return to the university in the spring.

In the other death, MSU freshman Catherine Delwiche was struck by a vehicle and killed in early October while training for a cross-country meet. Her teammate, Laura Palmer, suffered minor injuries. That case has been forwarded to the Blue Earth County attorney's office for review, and Sticha would not comment on it.

"Absolutely there is a cumulative effect because these are young people who were loved and who were bright young people with so much promise," Olson said. "These three are so devastating because they were all so well known on campus.

"It's a week where we ought to be giving thanks ... Our thoughts are about how fragile we are. Young people, they just never expect this to touch them. They never expect death among someone their own age and here we have three this fall. It's been a shock. The mood is somber."

Chris Frederick, the university's student body president, wore a ribbon in honor of the women and said Amen-Reif had been involved in the Campus Kitchen program that packages and delivers food to those in need.

"The campus is definitely going through a time of mourning," he said.

jshelman@startribune.com • 612-673-7478 cxiong@startribune.com • 612-673-4391

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