NJCU mourns death of two students


Francis “Frank” Clerie. Courtesy of @tke_njcu on Instagram.

Monica Sarmiento, Editor-in-Chief

The university community learned of the unrelated deaths of two NJCU students this week. Both students were confirmed by President Sue Henderson to have died from sudden illnesses off-campus. 

Francis “Frank” Clerie, 25,  died on Dec. 3. Clerie was a Biology major set to graduate in the spring and the president of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. He had dreams of becoming a doctor after graduation.

On their Instagram, TKE announced Clerie’s death, calling him “the pillar of our organization… he gave each brother the motivation to do their best and take every opportunity given. He was a friend, a mentor, and one of the greatest leaders our chapter has ever seen.”

Neel Marripeddi, the acting president of TKE, started a GoFundMe to help Clerie’s family cover the medical and funeral expenses. “Through TKE, Francis gave back to the community by doing countless fundraisers and raising thousands for St.Jude’s children’s hospital during his time at NJCU. Frank’s family is shouldering his final medical bills and the cost of his memorial.  Frank gave so much to the community, and now we’re asking you to help his family. If it is on your heart to help Francis’s family, please donate to this fund.”

On Dec. 2, Georgesette Shurn, 20, a transfer student from Newark studying Computer Science died. In an university-wide email she was described as “a bright spot in the campus community and will be sorely missed.” 

Shurn’s aunt, Teneka Medal, described her as “a perfect kid. She loved school and doing hair. She was an only child. Her mom wanted her to have a good education and she loved education. She was a mentor to young children. She was always happy and always helping others. I would call her to help me with my resume and she will be right here helping me with my resume. I would call her to help kids with their homework and she will be right here helping them.”

Shurn’s funeral services will be Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. at Metropolitan AME Zion, 140 Belmont Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07304.

There will be a closed memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 6, for Clerie’s fraternity brothers. A date is still being determined for a memorial service.

Clerie, Shurn and Jessie Alston, a long time housekeeper that also recently died, were mentioned at the university’s Convocation on Dec. 5 and honored with a moment of silence.

A third student death

On Dec. 12, an email announcing the death of Aaliyah Duncan, a COOP resident and management student from Newark, was sent out to the university community. Duncan died the night of Dec. 11. More details about her death and funeral arrangements have yet to be made public.

The Gothic Times will provide updates as they develop.