U of I Panel Can't Connect Student Death, Unofficial St. Pats Party | WGLT

U of I Panel Can't Connect Student Death, Unofficial St. Pats Party

Mar 6, 2017

U of I students at an apartment party during a recent St. Patricks' Day at the campus.
Credit Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

The chair of a committee set up to deal with Unofficial Saint Patrick’s Day at the University of Illinois Urbana campus says he cannot be certain that the death of a student was definitely due to the unsanctioned event.

Dean of Students Kenneth Ballom said the very nature of “Unofficial” as a de-centralized, unorganized event makes it hard to be sure that the fatal fall of Jonathan Morales from a Champaign apartment balcony was truly a part of it.

“Although others may associate the unfortunate death of Mr. Morales … with “Unofficial”, I don’t want to put that mark on the incident, not knowing the cause. … It happened to be on that day. But it’s hard for me to tag it in that way,” said Ballom.

He added his committee of campus, city and state representatives has devised several approaches for curbing the “Unofficial” celebration over the years. And he says that before Morales’ death Friday night, this year’s “Unofficial” appeared to be one of the quieter ones.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.