On Jan. 15, the fatal stabbing of Jeffrey Bordeaux, Jr. shook the UR community to its core. Now, nearly two weeks after the tragedy that took the life of the 20-year-old junior, the University is still mourning his loss.
A memorial service for Bordeaux was held on Friday, Jan. 21 at Aenon Baptist Church on Genesee Street. The University arranged for buses to transport students to the service and back to campus after and a group of students led a walk from the River Campus to the church to attend the service.
The church, which has a maximum capacity of approximately 1,000 people, saw 800 mourners in attendance.
Among those in attendance were UR President Joel Seligman, and Vice President and General Secretary Paul J. Burgett, as well as Bordeaux’s family and friends. His mentors, former NFL player Anthony Jordan and president of Realizing Others Outstanding Talents (ROOTS) Christopher Cuby, were also present.
According to UR junior Stephen Norwood, who was Bordeaux’s roommate, the mood of the service was a mix of joy and sorrow, with the crowd caught between tears and laughter. Speakers recalled Bordeaux’s amicable character, his humor and his love for his family.
Bordeaux’s mother, Delores Forest, spoke optimistically of the situation, which moved the audience to tears. Family and friends spoke about how Bordeaux brought laughter into the lives of those around him.
Norwood, who also spoke at the service, told stories from the three years he had known Bordeaux. He talked about everything from video games to his sense of style.
“I began by singing a song because I knew that his mother asked me to keep it happy,” Norwood said. “I wanted to truly make the service a celebration of the life of my friend.”
Junior Daren Venable, 20, charged with the murder of Bordeaux, appeared at a preliminary hearing on Thursday, Jan. 20 in Rochester City Court. Venable has been indicted on at least one felony criminal charge. The grand jury is expected to reveal details of the indictment on Friday, Jan. 28.
Assistant District Attorney Ray Benitez stated that Venable had introduced the knife in a fist fight, but did not give further details. In response, James Noble, Venable’s lawyer, claimed his client never left the party to retrieve a weapon, which justifies self-defense.
Nobles added that Venable had stayed at the scene and the Rochester police found him on the sofa where the fight took place. Venable was reported to have been very cooperative with the police.
The University’s investigation into the events of Jan. 15 is underway.
This task has been undertaken by a team of four University lawyers in the Office of Counsel, including Senior Vice President and General Counsel Sue Stewart.
The plan of the investigation is to conduct some interviews and review all of the relevant documents.
Ultimately, the inquiry seeks to answer the following questions, among many others: did the University have relevant policies before the event occurred? Were the policies known and followed? How well did the University respond to the event?
The internal review will cover issues such as security, student affairs and the communication system.
Stewart is also planning to look into steps that could be taken to improve the University’s preventive and response capabilities in the future.
“I don’t know how long it will take, but it will take weeks, not days,” Stewart said. “We believe that it is important to be thorough and deliberate in our review.”
The University is open to information and ideas from the community that might be relevant to the investigation.
UR Greek life faced some challenges as Rush Week took off four days after the stabbing occurred.
At the start of Rush activities, the fraternities and sororities had to decide whether or not to proceed with their planned events.
“[They are] trying to determine how to best cope with something of this magnitude in ways that are sensitive to the needs of individuals dealing with their feelings, while at the same time acknowledging that the world continues at its own pace,” Dean of Students Matthew Burns said.
The Department of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs did not mandate any changes to Rush Week, but individual fraternities and sororities are finding ways to respond to the tragedy appropriately.
A fraternity and sorority had set up a table in Wilson Commons to help out Bordeaux’s friends in raising money for his family in the lobby.
Delta Upsilon had changed the format of a recruitment event, opening it up to the University community. A member of the University’s counseling center was also present.
“No one can tell anyone else how to deal with this type of situation or how to grieve a loss. We all need to be sensitive to that fact,” Burns said.
Bordeaux’s family has asked that donations in his honor be directed to the Tony Jordan Youth Sports Foundation.
Lim is a member of
the class of 2014.