Mourning the Tragic Death of a Barnard Student

Friday, December 13, 2019

An Update on the Investigation Into the Death of Barnard Student Tess Majors

Dear Community,

Media reports from this morning indicate that an arrest has been made in connection with the death on Wednesday night of Barnard student Tess Majors. As details emerge about what occurred, we want to encourage all of you to take care of yourselves and each other.

We continue to mourn the loss of Tess and recognize the profound impact her loss has had on many within our community. Please do not hesitate to contact your dean of students, any of these resources or write to the Office of University Life at

We will continue to monitor developments and keep you updated. 


Read President Bollinger's full statement regarding yesterday's attack in Morningside Park


Below is Professor Suzanne Goldberg's original message to the Columbia community:

December 12, 2019

Dear Columbia Community,

We write to share profoundly sad news about the death of a Barnard student, Tessa Majors, who was fatally injured during an armed robbery on Wednesday evening in Morningside Park. It is difficult to capture in words our deep sorrow for Tessa’s family and friends, and for the loss to the broader Barnard and Columbia community of which Tessa was newly a member.

This tragedy is heartbreaking for many in our community, both those who knew Tessa and those who did not. Please seek support from your friends, family and all of us in the community who are here to support you. Counseling services are available at all times of the day and night for students on the Morningside, Barnard and CUIMC campuses. Public Safety is also available for you 24/7 to respond to any safety concerns you may have.

We will update this post on Thursday morning with information about a reflection space for all in our community.

Please know that we are here for you, and if you would like support, please do not hesitate to contact your dean of students or any of these resources.

With deepest condolences,

Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg
Executive Vice President for University Life
Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law


Below is President Beilock's message to the Barnard community:

December 11, 2019
Dear Barnard Community,
With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students. Earlier this evening, Tessa Majors, a first-year student at Barnard, was fatally injured during an armed robbery that occurred off campus in Morningside Park.
Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents and Tessa’s family is en route to NYC. We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack. 
Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community. 
This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.
In these difficult circumstances, it is important for us to take care of each other. The Furman Counseling Center will be open all night tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. We encourage anyone in need of support to come: 
Furman Counseling Center: 100 Hewitt Hall, (212) 854-2092
In the days ahead, please know that all of our campus resources are available for you as we mourn this heartbreaking loss together. I encourage you to reach out to the following additional on-campus resources as needed: 
Dean of Studies Office: 105 Milbank Hall, (212) 854-2024
After-hours psychological emergency line: (855) 622-1903
International SOS for students who are abroad: +1-215-942-8478
We will provide you with updates as they become available to us. Barnard and Columbia Public Safety are coordinating closely with the NYPD. We remind all students that public safety provides 24/7 escort services and students are free to reach out with any questions or concerns (212-854-6666). 
To our entire Barnard community, I am in mourning with you and am here for you. Tonight and in the days ahead, please hold Tessa and her family in your hearts and keep each other close.
With sorrow,
Sian Leah Beilock, President