Closings & Delays

Police investigating William and Mary student’s death

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A junior from William & Mary died Sunday at an off-campus location, according to police.

Williamsburg Police and medics responded to a call about a student in cardiac arrest shortly after 2 a.m.

When they arrived, they found 20-year-old Tiancheng “Austin” Zheng  unconscious.

He was taken to Riverside Doctor’s hospital, where he later died.

Zheng’s cause of death is undetermined at this time. The Medical Examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

The Vice President for Student Affairs sent the following message out to students:

With deep sadness I am writing to tell you of the death of one of our students, Tiancheng “Austin” Zheng, a junior from Suzhou, China.

A dean’s list student studying biology and art, Austin was an active member of Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Prior to coming to the United States for college, he worked as a teaching assistant with New Channel Education Group, helping professional English instructors in TOEFL and SAT classes and working closely with high school students to build their English vocabulary and reading skills. Austin expressed a special interest in both health and the cultural arts.

Since learning this tragic news, members of the student affairs staff and the W&M police have been offering direct assistance to those who were closest to Austin. The Dean of Students Office, the Counseling Center, Residence Life, campus ministers, and my office are on-call throughout the weekend and available on a priority basis for those who need us. Counselors can be reached any time by phone at 757-221-3620. I will send a follow-up message in the coming days once we have information about funeral and/or memorial arrangements.

Today’s tragedy reminds us of how close we are to one another at William & Mary. What affects one of us affects us all. I know you join me in extending our heartfelt sympathies to Austin’s family and his many friends.

Ginger Ambler