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Brockport Students Coming to Terms With Death of Classmate

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Rochester: Brockport Students Coming to Terms With Death of Classmate
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The College at Brockport campus came together Monday night to remember the freshman student who was killed Saturday morning.

Alexandra Kogut, 18, of New Hartford was found dead in her dorm room. Police say the freshman died from blunt force trauma. Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Clayton Whittemore, also from New Hartford, is charged with her murder.

For many students, college marks the beginning of their adult life, where major decisions are made.

Students at the College at Brockport are learning a life lesson. After hearing a fellow student was killed, allegedly by her boyfriend, those lectures provided at orientation about healthy relationships are hitting home.

"I'm often asked what the most difficult part of my job is and it's the moments when we lose a member of our community,” said John Halstead, president of The College at Brockport.

Halstead says the school is committed to educating students on relationship violence.

"We are calling it Respect Week on our campus, with a speaker on Wednesday who will talk about respect."

"We do see domestic violence in college settings and high school relationships as well," said Janine Lucas from Alternatives for Battered Women. She hears the warning signs from women she counsels.

“Emotionally violent, the person may be intimidating; they may just isolate their partner. Not want to spend time with them."

The details surrounding Alexandra Kogut and Clayton Whittemore's relationship is unknown, but her murder has sparked awareness on the issue. No longer under mom and dad's roof, Lucas says its vital students know what an unhealthy relationship looks like.

"They need to listen to that inner voice that this is not healthy."

She says sometimes the transition from high school to college can magnify the violence.

"Whether it's a geographic change, or they move on to another relationship or they don't want to date anymore. If it is a domestic violence situation that tends to escalate the violence, certainly."

Lucas says if you're unsure about leaving a relationship; pass on the information to a friend. She says in most cases, the victim's friends and family say they never knew the relationship was abusive.

Arrangements for Alexandra Kogut

The website for Dimbleby, Friedel, Williams, and Edmunds Funeral Homes in New Hartford said calling hours will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 13 Oxford Road in New Hartford.

The funeral for Kogut is scheduled for Thursday. Services will be held at St. John the Evangelist, also on Oxford Road in New Hartford, at noon.

Kogut will be buried at Calvary Cemetery in Utica.

Rochester: Brockport Students Coming to Terms With Death of Classmate
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It was the first day College at Brockport students returned to classes after a fellow student was killed on campus over the weekend.

Alexandra Kogut, 18, of New Hartford was killed in her dorm room early Saturday morning. Police say the freshman died from blunt force trauma.

Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Clayton Wittemore, also from New Hartford, is charged with her murder.

The death had an impact on the entire campus.

President John Halstead described himself as a parent of 8,500 students. On Saturday, he had to tell those students that one of their own had died.

The news quickly spread across the campus and prompted vigils where students came together to remember Alexandra.

Halstead says eventually, the campus will regain some sense of normalcy, but he wants domestic violence awareness to be a constant conversation on campus.

"We'll have moments on this campus to talk about prevention of domestic violence and care and respect for others. We are calling it Respect Week on our campus, with a speaker on Wednesday who will talk about respect, with programs throughout the week as well," Halstead said.

Students are preparing for a private rememberance vigil Monday night for Alexandra. The color purple will highlight tonight's ceremony because it was Alexandra's favorite color and symbolizes that the campus is taking a stand against domestic violence.

Rochester: Brockport Students Coming to Terms With Death of Classmate
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New information was released Sunday in the beating death of a freshman student on campus grounds.

A representative for the family as well as police confirm Alexandra Kogut, 18, of New Hartford, is the girl who was killed in her dorm room early Saturday morning.

Sheriff's deputies also released the cause of death tonight. While many students are still reluctant to speak about the incident, one freshman says Alexandra and suspect looked like a normal young couple.

The parking lots along Residence Drive were filled with parents dropping of their children, many of whom went home for the weekend. Parents and students say while the event is disconcerting, they believe the campus is safe.

"I actually lived in the same hall as her and she was a great girl," said student Katie Frieh.

However, students' emotions on campus are still very raw. Sheriff's deputies released Alexandra Kogut's cause of death as blunt force trauma. Katie Frieh, a freshman living in McLean Hall, was beginning to form a friendship with Kogut.

"She was really outgoing, really nice," said Frieh. "I always said 'hey girl' in the halls, we went out to breakfast together."

Frieh says she saw Kogut's boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore, 21, at Kogut's dorm before.

"I had seen him a couple of time actually," she said. "From what I heard they were dating for multiple years."

The extent of Kogut and Whittemore's relationship has not been confirmed but Frieh says nothing negative stood out during his visits to campus.

"Something terrible must have happened. Everything seemed great on the outside. Something bad must have happened for him to freak out like this. They seemed normal and happy," Frieh explained.

College at Brockport officials say Kogut was recruited for the school's swim team. The team's first practice is scheduled for Monday. A spokesman for the Kogut family released a statement saying quote:

"Alexandra Kogut was a bright, beautiful young woman who was thrilled to be beginning her college education. Her lovely and sweet demeanor was truly infectious and she will forever
be missed."

"It's really hard to think about her but there's nothing we can do now but just remember her and keep going," said Frieh.

Clayton Whittemore is due back in court Thursday October 4th.

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