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Dec

29

Gage Bellitto, CC ’20, Has Passed Away

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Earlier this morning, we received notice that Columbia College sophomore Gage Bellitto has passed away as a result of an opioid overdose. Gage had transferred to CC this fall from Bates College, and was a resident of Carlton Arms. A lifetime resident of Bronxville, he was a 2016 graduate of Bronxville High School and played on the Varsity Baseball Team.

In Dean Valentini’s email to CC and SEAS students, he passed along information from Gage’s family: the family will be receiving visitors today (December 29), at the Fred H. McGrath & Son Funeral Home in Bronxville, NY from w to 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm, and will hold the Mass of Christian Burial on tomorrow (Saturday, December 30) at the Church of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, NY at 10:45 am.

“I encourage you to rely on your family and friends for support, whether you are on-campus or traveling, as well as to take advantage of local resources as needed,” Dean Valentini wrote. Counselors and advisors from Columbia CPS, Health Services, the Office of the University Chaplain, and the Berick Center for Student Advising all have extended on-call hours through Tuesday, January 2, and will have regular hours in effect after that. More details on all of these services are included later in this post. In addition, students on still on campus can reach out to Residential Life staff; on-call information is posted in residence halls.

Our deepest condolences go to Gage’s family and friends.

Dear Students,

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Gage Bellitto, a sophomore who transferred to Columbia College this fall and was a resident of Carlton Arms.

Gage’s family has also requested that we let you know he died as a result of an opioid overdose. We are working with Gage’s family to provide support and assistance during this difficult time.

The family will be receiving visitors today, December 29 at the Fred H. McGrath & Son Funeral Home in Bronxville, NY from 2:00–4:00 p.m. and 6:00–8:00 p.m. and will hold the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, December 30 at the Church of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, NY at 10:45 a.m.

When we lose a member of our community, we are all affected. I encourage you to rely on your family and friends for support, whether you are on-campus or traveling, as well as to take advantage of local resources as needed. Counselors and advisers from across the University will also be here to support you, with extended on-call holiday hours through Tuesday, January 2 and regular hours in effect beginning Wednesday, January 3. Please see below for schedules, contact information and on-call availabilities.

I join the Columbia community in mourning this loss, and extend my condolences to Gage’s family and friends.

Sincerely,

James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College and
Vice President for Undergraduate Education

cc: Mary C. Boyce, Dean of Columbia Engineering

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6 Comments

  1. Counselors and advisors from Columbia CPS, Health Services, the Office of the University Chaplain, and the Berick Center for Student Advising all have extended on-call hours through Tuesday, January 2.

  2. j

    They do have the funds to keep open during the year.

    They choose to spend it on a Woman's Center and two rape centers.

    There is little funding left for men.

  3. p

    I think that this should be a wake up call for all members of the Columbia community. We hear a lot about how the opioid epidemic impacts low-income areas and rural areas of the United States, but very rarely does this reach our doorstep.

    This shouldn't be politicized in terms of campus politics (as some of our more misguided members seem to think), and I'd say no tragedy should. However, we have to be attuned to the fact mental health initiatives and funding on campus remain deeply lacking. It's hard to say whether this could have been prevented without further information, but this problem will not be fixed by writing off the opioid epidemic as something separate from our ivory tower on the hill.

  4. They do have the funds to keep open during the year..

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