In Memoriam, News

President Laurie Patton and Vice President for Student Affairs Smita Ruzicka sent the following message to the Middlebury community on Friday, December 29.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We are writing to inform you of the tragic news that one of our students has died while at home for the winter break in Dover, Massachusetts.

Arianna Kamal, a first-year student and member of the Class of 2027, and her parents, Teena and Rakesh Kamal, were found dead in their home on Thursday, according to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, which is leading the investigation. Many of you likely have seen or will see news reports about this terrible event, which the district attorney called a suspected act of domestic violence, during a recorded press conference. He did not confirm the specific cause of the deaths.

In her short time at Middlebury College, Aria, a Stewart Hall resident, was participating in a first-year seminar, Mindfulness in Education, taught by Melissa Hammerle, visiting assistant professor of education studies. She also was involved in MiddMyco, an organization for students with an interest in foraging, and with the Women in Computer Science student organization.

Melissa described Aria as “a brilliant student and an amazing singer” who recently read at Middlebury’s Lessons and Carols service and who sang in the College Choir. “She loved singing and was interested in going to Italy with the College opera group,” Melissa said.

“Aria was beloved by the College Choir,” added Jeffrey Buettner, Christian A. Johnson Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities. “She loved singing together, and her choir community was deeply meaningful to her in her first semester.”

Of Aria’s work in her first-year seminar, Melissa shared: “She was connected and engaged in class, and passionate about everything she did. She was a beautiful writer and always did things 110 percent. She was a deeply spiritual person and dove into the material in the first-year seminar course.”

Given the apparent circumstances, we have not been in touch with Aria’s family yet. We have reached out to residents of Stewart Hall and other students who are currently on campus to offer support. In addition, we have notified TimelyCare so they are ready to assist students.

Once we return from the break, we will work with Aria’s friends and possibly with her extended family to plan an appropriate remembrance. We will share details once they become available.

We know that this news will be difficult for those who knew Aria, those with experiences of domestic violence, those grieving other losses, and for our whole community, especially as most of us are apart from our Middlebury campus community during winter break. A list of Middlebury’s resources of support—available during the break—is below. Please note that the information is different from during the regular semester and includes resources specific to those experiencing or affected by domestic violence. 

Take care of yourselves as you transition into a new year. 

Yours in community and sorrow, 

Laurie Patton

Smita Ruzicka
Vice President for Student Affairs

Middlebury Resources

For Students: 

TimelyCare services are always available 24/7 at go/timelycare including on-demand medical and mental health support. Students away from campus should update their location to make sure they can access clinicians licensed and available in their state. Students who are located outside of the United States for break can access TalkNow for on-demand mental health support, contingent upon local regulations related to telehealth and internet access. Please note that there are some countries (China and South Korea, for instance) where TimelyCare is not permitted to operate any services.

Center for Health and Wellness services including Counseling, access to professional advocates, and groups will resume on January 2 when residence halls reopen.

For Employees: 

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (Company Code: Middlebury College) is available 24/7 for faculty and staff and their immediate family members, and those residing in their homes to speak to a counselor, among other services.

For All Middlebury Community Members:

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic or dating violence, help is available. If you are on or near campus contact Addison County’s Atria Collective (formerly known as WomenSafe) at their 24-hour hotline (802-388-4205) for confidential resources and support. 

If you are not on or near campus please contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) 24/7 via phone (1-800-656-4673) or online chat to be connected with a confidential advocacy agency geographically closest to you.

All Middlebury students and employees are also entitled to supportive measures, assistance with reporting, and more related to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking provided by Civil Rights and Title IX. Please note that the Title IX office will reopen on Jan. 2.

The MiddSafe hotline serving Middlebury students will resume service on Thursday, January 4, when classes begin. Their online advocate tool is available 24/7 to students and anyone supporting students.