Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Study abroad student killed while traveling

A Grinnell College student was robbed and murdered in northern India after completing a fall study-abroad program administered by GW last semester.

Jamison Curran, a 21-year-old junior at Grinnell College, studied in Madurai in the fall term of GW’s South India Term Abroad. He was robbed and murdered while traveling alone in the northern town of Rishikesh Dec. 21. A suspect obtained by Indian officials confessed to the Dec. 21 murder, said Barbara Porter, director of Public Affairs.

The death is a result of a random act of violence, said Melinda Tomsic, a family spokeswoman.

Curran was traveling in an area just as dangerous (and) just as safe as any other area in India when he was discovered missing, GW Director for Study Abroad Adrean Bealieu said. University officials were in communication with Curran and were informed of his whereabouts, Bealieu said.

(SITA) did everything (it) would have done if the session was in progress, Bealieu said.

University officials facilitated a search for Curran with numerous Indian organizations after friends of Curran discovered him missing Dec. 24, Bealieu said.

Everything that was possible to be done we did, Bealieu said.

Students studying abroad often stay overseas to travel weeks after the completion of academic work, Bealieu said. He said the incident should not alarm students who plan to study abroad in the future.

Tomsic said SITA officials did as much as they could to keep Curran safe in India.

I don’t think it’s any fault of (SITA), Tomsic said. It could happen anywhere.

Students enrolled in GW study abroad programs are given safety handbooks, are briefed on safety issues and are informed about State Department advisories before going abroad. There were no specific travel advisories for any region of India in December, Bealieu said.

Before last month’s robbery/murder, petty theft was the most major incident that occurred in any GW study abroad program, Bealieu said.

SITA is a joint program of eight colleges and universities that has been administered by GW for 11 years.

A memorial service for Curran will be held at Grinnell College Jan. 26.

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