When an academic loses a family member or close friend

Death of a Family Member/Close Friend

When a family member or person close to an academic dies, someone in the department should assume the role of coordinating communication between the absent, bereaved person, and his or her colleagues.

The person's chair may want to send condolences, either by phone or mail. This should be done directly by the chair, and not through someone else. It may be appropriate to send a condolence card signed by members of the department.

The chancellor encourages consistency in responding to the deaths of family members. He also encourages the use of department funds to send flowers or other appropriate gifts within the scope of applicable funding and personnel policy constraints.

The chair, or someone designated by the chair, also needs to determine the following:

  • Does the individual want to hear from members of the department? If so, does the individual want to receive phone calls or cards? Who does the academic want to hear from and how can he/she be reached?
  • Who is invited to the services? When and where will they be held? Where can people send contributions?
  • When will the person return to work?

It is helpful if those at work become familiar with the impact and process of grief to be able to be as supportive as possible to the bereaved upon his or her reentry to work. After the academic returns to work, he or she may need to be reminded to change their benefits if the person who died was covered for health, dental, DepCare, life insurance, and other benefits.

Remind the academic that Employee Assistance is available to assist them during this time of mourning. Also, CARE is available to consult with he department on handling the situation.

Emergency Loans

The death of a family member can cause financial hardship. It may be necessary to cover the unexpected costs of child or elder care, shipping of remains, travel, attorney fees, accommodations and funeral arrangements.

Faculty may be eligible for a payroll advance based on what has already been earned. The university can also provide emergency loans. Faculty can borrow up to $3,000 (exceptions can be made). For more information call 643-8828, Loans and Receivables.