Two especially recent deaths — one on Friday and one on Saturday — drove officials to send the letter on Saturday, Dr. Sarah Van Orman, USC’s chief health officer, told CNN.
University officials believe that neither of those deaths were by suicide, contrary to rumors on campus that they were, Van Orman said. A coroner, however, has not yet released the cause and manner of those two deaths.
Of the eight deaths, three are believed to have been by suicide, Van Orman said. At least one of the eight was a result of a traffic accident, she said.
Seven were undergraduates, and one was a graduate student.
“There is a great deal of speculation about the causes of these (eight) deaths and most are being attributed to suicide. This is not correct,” the letter reads. “These tragic losses have resulted from a number of different causes.”
The university says it typically sees between four and 15 student deaths per year in its community of about 47,000 undergraduate and graduate students
‘Nothing is more important than your well-being’
The letter urges students needing help to call the school’s 24/7 wellness hotline. It also asked people who are concerned about others’ well-being to contact its Trojans Care 4 Trojans
“Nothing is more important than your well-being and we urge anyone who needs assistance tonight or this weekend to reach out to our counselors, public safety officers or staff,” the letter reads.
Students have been concerned about this semester’s deaths, USC student Lauren Kramer told CNN affiliate KTLA
“It’s just an overall sad thing, and we want to be respectful, but we also want to know. … Like, is there something that we have to look out for?” Kramer said.