‘Know you are not alone.’ Capilouto addresses recent student deaths


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Rick Childress

In the wake of two student deaths, UK President Eli Capilouto encouraged the campus to mourn together, seek resources and move forward in a campus-wide email sent on Friday. 

“They sat beside us in our classes and at our meals; walked beside us in our hallways and on our campus paths; and experienced joy and sorrow in our midst,” Capilouto wrote in the email. “Such losses of people so absurdly young and so remarkably full of promise makes dimmer our community spirit and makes heavy our individual hearts.”

The email, which strongly encouraged those in the UK community to “consider seeking assistance across the multitude of resources available on our campus,” comes after the deaths of Taylor Nolan and Sean Culley, both 19-year-old UK students.

Nolan, who died on Jan. 8 in Lexington, was from Springfield, Ky. The coroner confirmed that the cause of death was suicide.

Nolan was a member of the Student Government Association, but had already exited the Senate by the time of her death. She was also a member of the Chi Omega women’s fraternity. 

“She was womanly always and discouraged never,” a post on the Chi Omega Instagram page said of Nolan. “Taylor spoke kindly and acted sincerely. She shared her wit and loving spirit with everyone she encountered, and was the light in every room she entered.”

Culley, who died Wednesday evening, was a freshman studying pre-materials engineering and lived in the Woodland Glen 3 dorm building. The cause of Culley’s death is not currently known, but UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said that foul play was not believed to be a factor in his death. 

“Our thoughts are with his family, loved ones and friends across the campus at this time. We extend our deepest condolences to them and to everyone impacted by this tragedy,” Blanton said.

Capilouto’s email stated that mental health resources can be found on the university website here. He also said that over the next several days, campus officials will have meetings and dialogue in residence halls and other places to address the deaths. 

My hope is that everyone on our campus– no matter who you are, where you are from, what you look like, or what you believek– can know you are not alone,” Capilouto wrote.