Death still shaking campus

Administration requests security review after student’s death

Cameron Bruce, Sci ’14, was found dead below his sixth-floor residence window in Victoria Hall (pictured above) on Sept. 13.
Cameron Bruce, Sci ’14, was found dead below his sixth-floor residence window in Victoria Hall (pictured above) on Sept. 13.

In the wake of Cameron Bruce’s tragic death, the Queen’s community is coming to grips with what happened while a police investigation continues.

According to Queen’s News Centre, Kingston Police believe Bruce, Sci ’14, died as a result from a fall from his sixth floor residence room window and that alcohol may have been a factor.

Constable Mike Menor, spokesperson for the Kingston Police, said detectives are attempting to create a timeline leading up to Bruce’s death.

“Everyone has been spoken to who interacted with him a day or so before,” he said, adding that the investigation is still ongoing.

“It does take time to conduct a thorough investigation,” he said. “The incident hasn’t been closed yet.”

Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs John Pierce said Queen’s will be performing a general security overview in order to prevent future accidents.

“We’re initiating a review of all aspects of campus safety and campus protocol,” he said. “The sole goal of the review is to prevent something like this happening again.”

Pierce said Kingston Police are leading the investigation into Bruce’s death.

“We’re leaving that to the police. We’re letting them take the lead … to inform us about the details,” he said. “It’s worth keeping in mind as we do our review it will be conditioned by the police report.”

Queen’s has a student death protocol in place which requires a review be held after each death; however, the vice-principal (academic) may request a critical incident review “following a student death as circumstances warrant.” Queen’s News Centre has reported that in the case of Bruce’s death a critical incident review will take place.

Queen’s has been active in providing support to students who are grieving after Bruce’s death, Pierce said.

“Counseling Services has been working overtime to help students. Dons are trained to be alert to signs of discomfort among students.” Pierce said there has been a strong reaction from the entire university community.

“The simple word to describe it is shock,” he said. “From the students in residence to everyone who didn’t know him … it’s shock.”

Chaplain Brian Yealland said shortly after Bruce’s death, Queen’s faculty and staff were working to provide support for students.

“Behind the scenes of silence, we were all working together to take care of our own.”

Yealland said ongoing counseling has been provided for students affected by Bruce’s death.

“Last week, a number of us spent a lot of time talking to students in residence, in particular in Victoria Hall, and in particular the sixth floor, but not exclusively to those students,” he said. “[We talked to] engineering students, FRECs, frosh … people who had spent most of the days of orientation with Cameron.”

Yealland said the main support offered to students has been grief counseling provided by Health Counseling and Disability Services (HCDS) in conjunction with support from dons and Residence Life.

“HCDS made counseling available for 24 hours a day,” he said. “This offer was made because we knew students would be having a terrible time. To have a happy, healthy 18-19 year-old one day and the next day they’re gone. It’s always a very strong reaction.

“A number of other people became involved, like the Dean of Engineering,” Yealland said. “Dr. Mike Condra, [director of HCDS], and myself together with Residence Life and dons had two meetings with students on Monday and Tuesday night. Tuesday night we were joined by Cameron’s father, Iain Bruce.”

Residence Life declined to comment.

Yealland said Bruce’s death had an especially large impact because it occurred shortly after Frosh Week.

“[This is the] first time I’m aware of it happening more or less a part of orientation,” he said, adding that officially Bruce died on the first day of classes.

Queen’s is planning to hold a memorial service to honour him, Yealland said.

“We are in the initial stages of putting a memorial service together here in the next couple of weeks,” he said, adding that he’s looking for input from Bruce’s friends before taking any action.

“When we organize it we will let [students] know when and where,” he said.

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