Experiencing or anticipating the death of a loved one or community member takes on many different meanings for people. Grief is a natural process of adjusting to such a significant loss. Some days the grieving person is focused on their pain; other days they may feel less distressed. Often people in grief may feel confused because their responses can vary significantly and can manifest in physical, emotional, mental and or spiritual ways. While every person grieves every loss differently, people may experience a number of changing emotions, including, but not limited to, sadness, anger, guilt, shame, ambivalence, and confusion. Some people will express their grief more emotionally or by crying; others may be "action takers" or work out their responses by exercising, writing or taking some creative action. Grieving people may become easily overwhelmed with too much sensory or cognitive input, and their energy levels may vary from hour to hour. In addition sleeping and eating habits may be disrupted. All of these responses are normal as the grief takes time to become integrated into our lives.

If you need to inform the university about the death of a CU student, faculty or staff please contact the Dean of Students at 303-492-9048 or deanofstudents@colorado.edu.

Explore your options

Grief and loss is a part of life and the first people who are often most helpful are those in your community who also knew the person who passed, and or people who know the grieving person. Seeking support or counseling when dealing with the death of a loved one or community member may also be a part of working through grief. There are resources available on campus for faculty, staff, students, and graduate students that can offer assistance around the death of a loved one.

For grief counseling: Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is available to students and graduate students and Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) is available to faculty and staff.

If the loss involves an accident, crime, disasters, mass violence, murder, navigating law enforcement and/or the legal system contact OVA for advocacy and/or counseling support.

For more on suppoprting people who are grieving or if you are grieving, please see list of resources at the bottom of this page.

Grief may impact various facets of a person’s life. The structure of an academic routine can be useful for some people, while others find that concentrating on school work is challenging. If you are finding it difficult to focus on your academic work, reach out to your professors directly as well as your academic advisor to discuss options for managing these issues.  The Student Support and Case Management office may also be an academic support resource and they recommend to first work directly with your faculty.

It is common for some students to need some time off after a death to attend memorial services or reconnect with family and community. While taking this time away can be challenging during the academic year, it is best to contact professors directly to start these conversations.  Some students feel that they can no longer stay in school, or at least need a break from school, after the death of a loved one and an academic advisor can help you with various withdrawal options

When a death is due to a crime, involves police responce, OVA is available to discuss academic advocacy. If the loss is not related to a crime please contact your academic advisor or Student Support and Case Management to learn about your academic options and receive assistance.