Initial autopsy: ‘natural causes’

By Daily Illini Staff Report

No official statement has been issued yet by the University regarding the death of Cathy Acevedo, associate dean of students.

Acevedo’s death was confirmed Tuesday afternoon by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano.

In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said that a preliminary autopsy indicates that she died of natural causes.

Acevedo had a pre-existing heart condition, Northrup said. He also said he believes Acevedo had a history of asthma, which has not yet been confirmed.

As of yesterday, Northrup said he believed that her death was cardiac-related, yet no official autopsy results have been released.

Acevedo is mourned by University faculty and staff who worked with her.

“She cared so much about students and worked to make the campus a better place for all,” Student Trustee Chime Asonye wrote in an e-mail to the Illinois Student Senate on Tuesday.

Acevedo was involved in numerous projects on campus including spending time as an emergency dean, working with campus cultural centers and keeping involved with the various community police centers, Romano said Tuesday afternoon.

Acevedo was also a strong ally for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community on campus, Mike Allen, graduate student in LAS, said Tuesday.

“She was not afraid to speak her mind,” said Curt McKay, director of the Office of LGBT Resources. “She was forthright and willing to speak up. She was really invaluable to many of us.”

Paolo Cisneros, Melissa Silverberg and Sarah Small contributed to this report