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Office of Campus Life


Office of the Vice President of Campus Life
Fax: 202-885-1769
Butler Pavilion, Room 400

Monday-Friday 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

Office of the Vice President of Campus Life
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8127


November 4, 2016

Dear American University Community,

As we mourn the loss of CAS sophomore and McDowell resident Z’ane Davis-Smith, we ask the AU community to respect her family’s privacy and their request not to share further information about the circumstances of her death.

News about such loss will have a profound effect on all of us. We understand that the sudden death of someone among us sometimes can trigger or deepen our own struggles with life’s challenges and perhaps with periods of anxiety and depression.

This is a time for us to care for ourselves and for one another, to seek and give support and to strive for hope, recovery and resilience. AU’s mental health and spiritual life staffs are meeting today with many who were close to Z’ane to help them cope with their loss and begin the healing process. It is important for all to feel supported now and in the days ahead. Below you will see information about additional resources that are available to you, and we ask you to reach out if you need support.

Gail Short Hanson
Vice President of Campus Life


Here are some warning signs that might prompt you or a friend or colleague to seek help:

  • Talk about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talk about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talk about being a burden to others
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

Campus resources for support include:

  • Counseling Center – Mary Graydon Center Room 214, 202-885-3500, Drop-in hours 2-4 p.m. weekdays and announced gatherings in McDowell Hall today and this weekend
  • Student Health Center Collegiate Assistance Program – Staffed by medical clinicians available 24/7, 855-678-8679
  • Dean of Students – Butler Pavilion 408, 202-885-3300, Drop-in hours as needed on weekdays until 5 p.m.
  • Kay Spiritual Life Center – Chapel reflection and availability of chaplains through 5 p.m. today and at regular religious services throughout the weekend
  • Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) – 202-885-2593

We also want you to be aware of community and national mental health resources:

  • How are you feeling?anonymous online mental health screening
  • Crisis Text Line – From anywhere in the U.S. about any type of crisis – Text “START” to 741-741
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 (available 24/7), in Spanish 1-888-628-9454, for deaf and hard of hearing 1-800-799-4889