LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2021) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and UK Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner sent the message below to the campus community on Tuesday evening regarding the death of UK student Thomas Lofton Hazelwood.
Last night, our community suffered a tragic loss with the death of our student, Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood.
Lofton, as he was known, was 18 years old and from Henderson, Ky. He was an agricultural economics major. He lived in Lewis Hall and was a new member of his fraternity. He was involved in campus activities and, we know, loved by his family.
In other words, he had all the promise of youth and the potential that comes with it.
We have been in communication with his family and many of the students who knew and loved him.
There aren’t words adequate to convey what so many on our campus feel, the sense of loss and grief, sadness and emptiness. There just isn’t. Words can’t fill that void, nor will we try.
However, what we can convey, and what we can do, is reach out with the support members of our community need during this time and in all the days ahead. That includes Lofton’s family as they are members of our family — not simply today or tomorrow, but always.
We also can — and we will — commit to finding out what happened, how it happened and why. We have conveyed to Lofton’s family that we will move as quickly as possible, but also transparently and comprehensively. We won’t speculate or engage in conjecture, but we will find out.
To that end, here’s what we know thus far and how we are moving forward to understand more fully this tragedy.
First, two investigations have been launched by the university. UK Police already has begun its investigation and is in the process of interviewing people. UK’s Office of Student Conduct also has begun a review. If you know something or have information about what happened, please call UK Police at 859-323-8477 (TIPS).
Second, when complete, both of these investigations will be made public including any findings and recommendations, subject to necessary redactions to protect the privacy of students. But we will understand better what happened and we will communicate with Lofton’s family and our university family.
Third, as of today, the University has suspended all activities for the FarmHouse Fraternity while these investigations are ongoing. The focus of the chapter — and of university officials involved in this review — needs to remain fixed on understanding what happened and finding answers.
Fourth, as has been communicated to a number of groups throughout last evening and today, we are reaching out with the appropriate levels of support — counseling and other services — for those students and groups who are impacted by this horrible event.
- More information about our Counseling Center's services can be found at https://www.uky.edu/counselingcenter/.
- You can also reach the Counseling Center 24/7 at 859-257-8701. If you are calling the Counseling Center after hours, press 1 from the menu of options to be connected to a clinician.
- Additionally, the Counseling Center hosts a regular series of drop-in sessions at locations around campus as part of the “Let’s Talk” series. Information on this series can be found at the Counseling Center’s website.
- Remember that if you are concerned about any member of the UK community, you can submit a report to the Center for Support and Intervention here: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofKentucky&layout_id=100.
What happened is unspeakably tragic, but that should never stop us from reaching out to each other to talk, to listen and to offer support. We all need help at times, never more so than when those things that are seemingly unimaginable actually happen.
Life is fragile and precious. Too often, we realize that far too late. So, while we cannot heal such a loss or fill the emptiness that we know so many feel right now, we can be there for each other a little more tomorrow than we are today, and we can commit to finding answers.
That is the project, as a community, that we will undertake together.
Eli Capilouto, President
Kirsten Turner, Vice President for Student Success