Texas Tech offers support to students and families in times of tragedy

Amy Murphy
Amy Murphy

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Many students at Texas Tech University returned to school Monday afternoon with heavy hearts. It was the first day of class since siblings Kylie and Ryan Murphy were killed while driving home to Austin.

"Well it has been a tough start to the school year, especially in such a time of excitement, then you're hit with such tremendous sadness in losing students over the course of several weeks," said Dr. Amy Murphy.

Murphy is Dean of Students and Managing Director of the Center for Campus Life at Texas Tech University.

"We have a lot of support here on the Texas Tech campus for faculty, staff and students who are impacted. We've been offering counseling support and opportunities, really just to gather and remember the students we've lost," she said.

Kylie and Ryan are the sixth and seventh students that have been killed in the last few weeks.

20-year-old Morgan Lee was killed on Aug. 13 after an accident on Clovis highway with a police officer.

One week later, 18-year-old Tucker Arnold was killed on Aug. 19 when police say he lost control of his pickup truck and hit parked cars before running into a tree near 49th and Ave U.

On Aug. 22, brothers Josh and Adam Coates were killed east of Tucson along with their father, when the car they were driving rolled while they were on their way back to school

And 18-year-old Dalton Debrick was found dead at a Central Lubbock home on August 24th.

"We just want to be a support to the students and the organizations that are impacted, that are here on our campus, by providing counseling assistance, academic support and resources as needed," said Dr. Murphy. "I think different students and different faculty and staff handle this differently. We want folks to know that everybody handles grief in a different way and that all of those ways are normal. For some of us we are going to be immediately sad, some of us will experience anger and some may not have known the students but will still need to grieve."

Texas Tech honors lost students by flying the Tech flag at half staff and engraving their names on a plaque in the Lew Jones Memorial Lounge in the Student Union Building. The names go back as far as the year 2000. Since that time, more than 170 names have been added to the wall.

"There's no other place that I'd want to be right now to have to deal with the past few weeks other than here at Texas Tech and with the Red Raider community. There has been tremendous support from faculty, staff and other students on this campus as well as alumni in the locations where incidents occurred, reaching out to make sure that these families know that some of these students may have only been with us a few weeks but they were absolutely part of this community."

Dr. Murphy says Texas Tech gives each family the flag that was flown at half staff so they remember that their child will always be a part of the Red Raider family.

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.