The tragic death of our undergraduate student Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. may be the center of local media attention when the trial of Daren Venable begins on April 11 in Monroe County Court. Daren is a student in the College who is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Jeffrey and has been withdrawn from the University while the legal case proceeds.
What occurred on our campus in those early morning hours of January 15 will forever affect the Bordeaux and Venable families. My heart continues to go out to both families.
I want to encourage students, faculty, and staff to have faith in our justice system. The trial may reveal information not previously known. I urge everyone to remain objective and to uphold the values of due process and the presumption of innocence before a verdict.
Some students have been subpoenaed and will be required to tell the court what they saw or know. The testimony may be used by the prosecutor or the defense attorney in ways that may make it seem as if the student were taking sides or testifying for or against a friend. This is the way trials work. Students who have been subpoenaed do not have a choice about telling the court what they know or a choice about how any facts they give may be argued as relevant to various positions taken by the lawyers.
Let us support our students and others at the University who have felt the deep pain of this situation most directly. The College Dean of Students Office, the University Counseling Center, and the Interfaith Chapel are ready to offer aid.
Arrangements have been made for UCC counselors to be available during the afternoons and evenings on the days of the trial. You can connect with a counselor by calling (585) 275-3113.
Chaplains from the Interfaith Chapel also will be available in the afternoons and evenings of the trial for support. If you would like to speak with a chaplain, you can stop by the chapel during the day or set up a meeting by calling (585) 275-4321 (day) or (585) 319-9395 (evening).
Together, we will deal with the aftermath of the trial and look for constructive ways to respond to the needs of the University community.