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Death of BU student in fire is latest in string of fatal tragedies

Posted by Your Town  April 29, 2013 12:54 PM

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The BU student killed in Sunday’s early morning fire is the latest in a string of fatal tragedies to hit the campus in recent months.

The Globe reported Sunday that a BU student died and 15 people were injured, including two other BU students, in an Allston fire earlier that morning.

University officials have identified the student as Binland Lee, a senior who was studying marine biology.

Lee was set to graduate in September from the school's marine program, BU officials said. She had served as the vice president of the BU Marine Science Association.

According to the university, Lee graduated in 2009 from Brooklyn Technical High School, a high school that accepts students who pass a rigorous exam.

John Finnerty, associate professor of biology, told BU Today that Lee was "a source of optimism for the future."

“I was struck by her intelligence, her determination, her vitality, and her infectious smile,” he said.

In a letter to the BU community, President Robert A. Brown wrote that “this tragedy comes close on the heels of the Boston Marathon losses, which have so affected our community. We are working to marshal counseling and support resources for all those touched by the fire while continuing to meet the needs of others who have been affected by the Marathon bombings.”

The university is holding a community gathering tonight at 7 p.m. in the George Sherman Union, according to BU Today.

"Monday's community gathering is a chance for the University community to get together regarding Sunday's tragic death of a student in an off-campus fire," BU Today reported. "Counseling resources and other information will be available."

Nearly two weeks ago, Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu died in the marathon bombings. She was 23.

In early March, the Globe reported that a BU freshman died after he was found unconscious in an Allston apartment. The university identified him as Anthony Barksdale II, 19, an engineering student.

BU graduate student Christopher Weigl was killed in December while riding his bicycle in Allston. The 23-year-old collided with a tractor-trailer on Commonwealth Avenue.

In November, 21-year-old BU student Chung-Wei “Victor” Yang died after he hit a MBTA bus while on his bicycle in Brighton.

A third-year doctoral student at BU died in July after an apparent fall. The Globe reported that he was working on an archeological survey project.

The victim was identified as 26-year-old Chad DiGregorio of Upton.

And nearly a year ago, three undergraduate BU students died in a car crash while studying abroad in New Zealand. Several other students were injured.

The university identified the deceased students as junior Daniela Lekhno; Roch Jauberty, a 21-year-old sophomore from California; and Austin Brashears, a 21-year-old junior, also from California.

Dexter McCoy, the student body president of BU, said today in a phone interview that the students who have died over the last year are not just classmates, but "the people we call friends and family."

"The past year has been very hard," said McCoy, 21, from Houston, Texas. "Being a part of this community, you feel it every time."

McCoy said the BU community has proven it will stand strong and support each other through times of tragedy. But it never gets any easier.

"We start to appreciate life a lot more," he said. "For us as a community it hurts more and more but we do learn how to deal with it."

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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