Truman State University, the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity, and a former student and fraternity brother are being sued by the parents of two students who committed suicide over the 2016-2017 school year. In total, there were five students who committed suicide throughout that school year. According to the lawsuit, Brandon Grossheim, the former Truman student and AKL brother, was closely connected to every student that committed suicide that year. Grossheim was one of the last people to see the students before their deaths, and was repeatedly seen in the area of their deaths. Additionally, he reportedly counseled students and gave specific instructions on how to approach their depression.
The lawsuit claims the University and fraternity were aware of the mental health conditions of the two plaintiff victims, yet allowed Grossheim unfettered access to the victims. According to the plaintiff attorney Nicole Gorovsky, Truman and AKL swept the situation under the rug and were not transparent about the situation with parents, students or the public. Truman General Counsel Warren Wells wrote in his statement that the University will fight the accusations, but will not be commenting further.
We, The Index Editorial Board, believe there needs to be more information given to the University community and the public. It is the responsibility of University leadership to be transparent and honest with Truman students, faculty, parents and alumni as this lawsuit unfolds. Whether or not the accusations are upheld or dismissed, the University ought to keep students and the community informed about what is happening, as well as what has happened.
Many students are confused and have questions, some of which were left unanswered in the issued statements or circulating news articles. At the very least, we think the University should send email updates to students to end the speculation and provide some form of reassurance. Students deserve to know what has transpired and what to expect moving forward.