Lisa P. Rimland is no Husky

The Hartford Courant recently released the surveillance footage from the UConn Fire Department showing the night Jeffny Pally was killed. This column's author responds to a Letter to the Editor published by The Daily Campus a week after the video was released. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

The Hartford Courant recently released the surveillance footage from the UConn Fire Department showing the night Jeffny Pally was killed. This column's author responds to a Letter to the Editor published by The Daily Campus a week after the video was released. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

In the fall of last year, the UConn community was rocked with tragic news. In the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, Jeffny Pally was run over and subsequently killed by a fire truck departing from the UConn fire station as it responded to a 911 call.

Pally was a sophomore allied health major, UConn employee working at Bookworms Café and a resident assistant in Northwest residence hall. She was also involved with UConn Community Outreach, the Indian Student Association and her sorority Delta Gamma. The entire campus mourned her passing and many people looked for answers of what happened that night.

On Sept. 15, 2017, the Hartford Courant released surveillance footage from the UConn Fire Department showing the night that Pally was killed. The attached story also walked through exactly how the police investigated Pally’s death and helped to create a timeline for the entire night. It also filled in gaps from the police department’s original report. Pally’s death is a tragedy and the Courant’s story reminded all of us that her death was not that long ago. Many wounds haven’t closed and many people are still trying to find closure over what happened on that horrible October morning.

Imagine everyone’s surprise when they logged onto the Daily Campus website or opened the newspaper on Thursday, Sept. 22. Exactly a week after the the Courant released the video of Pally’s death, the Daily Campus published a letter from Lisa P. Rimland. Rimland wrote in to talk “on what the media won’t cover about Jeffny Pally’s death.” That’s an exact quote. Haven’t had a chance to read the letter yet? I’ll give you a chance now.

Didn’t want to read it because the title made the content seem atrocious? I’ll summarize it for you. Rimland basically says Pally deserved what she got because she consumed alcohol while also being on university payroll. Rimland believes because Pally betrayed the university and decided to drink that is the only side of the story that matters. Rimland believes everything else in the case is immaterial. She ends her letter by saying that she is a member of the UConn Class of 1978 and she is a Storrs resident.

So apparently what the media won’t cover is that Pally was a college student who went out and had a drink. Apparently the bigger issue isn’t that Pally is dead, no, the issue is that Pally was a member of UConn payroll.

There is a phrase written on the walls across campus. It can be found in the dining halls and the residence halls. It can be found in the Union and some of the academic buildings. Know the phrase I’m talking about?

“Students today, Huskies forever.”

Since our first days on this campus we’ve been hearing that statement. It reminds us that no matter what happens, no matter where we go after graduation, we are part of a larger network. We are a part of a pack. I don’t know when that phrase was adopted but Rimland clearly doesn’t want to be associated with anything having to do with UConn. Not if her reaction to a fellow husky dying is that she betrayed the university by drinking.

Congratulations Lisa. You are officially a horrible human being. If you think the worst thing a student can do is drink then you are sorely mistaken. What you’re doing is called victim blaming. Look it up.

It’s college. People drink. It’s what people do on the weekends. There are many issues with what went down that night. The fact that Pally chose to drink should never be used as the excuse.

It’s pretty common knowledge that UConn students and Mansfield residents do not get along. Letters to the Editor like Rimland’s do nothing to improve relations. She calls herself a Storrs resident yet she clearly has no care for her community. Regardless of how Mansfield residents feel about students, we are a part of your community. And when a member dies, you mourn with the rest of the community, not attack the deceased.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that the UConn and Mansfield community lost one of their own. If Rimland cannot see that and cannot find it in her soul to respond appropriately maybe it’s time she finds a new community. She’s not welcome here.


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.