University authorities have opened an online book of condolences for the six students whose lives were lost in the tragic collapse of an apartment balcony in Berkeley, California in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The book, which can be accessed on the UCD website is open to all staff and students of UCD as well as anyone wishing to offer their sympathies to the families and friends of Niccolai Schuster, Eoghan Culligan, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Ashley Donohoe and Lorcan Miller. A further seven people were also injured in the collapse and are currently receiving treatment in hospitals in the area, with updates on their condition expected in the coming days.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, University President Professor Andrew Deeks expressed his condolences to the families of the six students as well as reminding those affected by events that help is available should they require it: “We have been in touch with colleagues in University of California Berkeley and they have offered to place their counselling services at the disposal of the Irish students in the area.” Such services are available through the University of California Berkeley’s University Health Services at the Tang Centre, 3rd Floor, 2222 Bancroft Way, Berkeley (T: 001-510-642-9494) which can be contacted online via their website.
UCDSU president Marcus O’Halloran has also joined in expressing his condolences and offering students both at home and abroad access to assistance through the welfare office. This assistance includes “welfare service, an advice service, and a referral service to student advisers and counsellors.” The welfare Officer can be contacted online here.
A physical book of condolences is to be opened by Dublin City Lord Mayor Christy Burke and members of the public are invited to sign this book at The Mansion House, Dawson Street, on Thursday and Friday from 10:00 to 16:00. Flags on government buildings are to be flown at half-mast on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the dead and their families and tributes have appeared online, at the site of the collapse and across Ireland.
Many of those currently in the Bay area on J1 visas have expressed deep shock and surprise. Some 700 Irish students are understood to be residing in and around the Berkely area, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is advised that those in the area contact their families and friends as soon as is possible to alleviate worries.
*Updated at 19:30, 17th June 2015 to include contact information for the Tang Centre.