[UPDATE: VIGIL THIS FRIDAY] Christien Rodriguez, Former UC Irvine Student, Falls to His Death From UCI Parking Structure in Apparent Suicide
|Rodriguez, from his Facebook page|
ORIGINAL POST, March 11, 11 a.m.: Last Friday afternoon, a man fell from UC Irvine's Social Science Parking Structure and was pronounced dead at the scene. It's not known yet whether it was a suicide, although witnesses told the school's New University paper they saw the man jump from the top floor. Last night, the paper identified him as Christien Rodriguez, a former UCI student.
His Facebook page lists Rodriguez as a native of San Diego who graduated from UCI last year and supposedly still works at the university. Other blogs also identify him as being active in LGBTQ causes on campus during his time there.
The tributes are already flowing into Rodriguez's Facebook page. "You were the most considerate person I knew," a friend wrote. "Always there. Always listening, processing, advising. Which is why this makes no sense. Hopefully this anger will go away; you don't deserve it. I love you, Chris. The poetry we wrote together changed my life."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family. We'll update the story as it develops.
UPDATE, MARCH 12, 2 P.M. There will be a vigil for Rodriguez this Friday at UCI's Cross Cultural Center starting at 1:30 in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the school's LGBT Resource Center director posted the following statement on its Facebook page:
It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the loss of a friend and a leader in the queer community at UCI. Christien Glitch Rodriguez passed away on Friday in the late afternoon.
Christien was a co-founder of T-Time, the support group for transgender, gender queer and gender questioning students. He was a member of the Transgender Task force on the campus and for many of people one of the first visible and openly transgender person many staff, faculty, and students had ever met. He was a longtime speaker for the Center's Speakers Bureau and has presented for several years across the campus. For those of us that were fortunate enough to know him, we will remember his incredibly sharp mind, his awareness, advocacy, and devotion to social justice issues and how he crafted words and language to help people understand marginalized, under-represented, and underserved populations. He was a leader in the housing community at AV. He was heavily involved in Irvine Queers and touched many of the other queer organizations in a variety of ways.
As information becomes available about memorial services or the like, we will do our best to keep people posted.
I would like to encourage the community to do several things:
• Engage in self-care, whatever that looks like for you (walk, journal, talk to a friend, etc.)
• If you are in crisis, seek help. Depending on the level of your urgency:
o Call the Police: 911
o Call the Counseling Center: (949) 824-6457
o Contact the Trevor Project lifeline: (636) 488-7386
o Seek support among your friends and peers
• The LGBT Resource Center is open 9-5 Monday-Friday. Please come by to connect with others that are feeling this loss.
Everyone who knew Christien will feel the impact of his passing in different ways. The feelings can vary greatly from day to day. Please trust and allow yourself and others to process this loss in our own unique and varied ways. There is no single correct/appropriate way to feel.
This is a heartbreaking time for the Queer community and the larger community at UCI as well. We lost a brother. Please do what you can to support each other and to ask for the support you may need.
In solidarity and in grief,