Vigil planned in memory of student as President Mantella addresses a mourning community

Cook Carillon Tower
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

Students are planning a candlelight vigil in memory of a student who died over the weekend as the Laker community continues to mourn.

Taylor DeRosa, a first-year student from Royal Oak, will be remembered Wednesday, December 16, at 7 p.m. at the Cook Carillon Tower on the Allendale Campus. 

Face coverings are required and attendees should maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from others. To minimize the handling of shared items, attendees are encouraged to bring their own candle or flashlight.

Mantella addresses community

President Philomena V. Mantella sent the following message on December 15:

Our Laker community continues to mourn one of our own, while authorities continue to investigate the suspicious death. The family of Taylor DeRosa is aware of the outpouring of concern for their loss. Taylor became part of our on-campus community as a first-year student this Fall semester. Our thoughts and prayers surround the DeRosa family during this tragic time.

There is much we do not know about the cause of her death, and the investigation is ongoing. Grand Valley Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Brandon DeHaan assures us, at this time, it appears the general public and the campus community are not in danger. He is urging all of us to be patient while GVPD and other law enforcement agencies continue their investigation. We have a moral obligation not to spread misinformation that fuels unhelpful suppositions and may hamper the investigation. 

We must support and care for each member of our Laker community. GVSU Counseling Center staff are ready to provide service to anyone who needs it, (616) 331-3266. The Dean of Students Office also has additional services available and can be reached at (616) 331-3585 or dso@gvsu.edu.

Tragedies have a way of focusing our attention to what matters most – the people around us. Keep the student’s family in your thoughts and offer your help and support to those who need it.

GVPD statement on investigation

GVPD Police Chief DeHaan urged the campus community to be patient, not to rush to any conclusions and to stop spreading false information, particularly on social media. Misinformation is not helpful to the investigation or to the family of our student, he said. Truthful and accurate updates will come from police authorities and the university when appropriate.

The Michigan State Police is assisting in the investigation, along with Ottawa County Sheriff's Department. Anyone with any information should contact the Grand Valley State University Police Department at (616) 331-3255 or Silent Observer at (877) 887-4536.