Johnson and Wales student Raymond Chase, 19, took his own life this past Wednesday, according to the Advocate.
Chase, a sophomore reported as openly gay, apparently hanged himself in his dorm room. According to Now Public, the circumstances surrounding his death are not yet known.
Johnson and Wales Vice President Ronald Martel e-mailed students with the news Thursday:
Today I contact you with the deeply sad news of the passing of Raymond Chase, sophomore, 19, culinary arts major. The campus community is mourning the loss of this vibrant young man who leaves many JWU friends and teachers, and a loving family of Monticello, New York.
Funeral arrangements are not available at this time. As we obtain more information that can be shared, we will do so. Ray's JWU friends and the university are planning a memorial service for the campus community. Those details will be forthcoming.
Many consider this -- the fifth suicide by a young gay person in the past few weeks -- as a national call to action. According to the Miami Herald, Campus Pride (which recently released a study on attitudes towards LGBT students on campus) issued a statement in reaction to the deaths:
...the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern. Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed. Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence.