It was a typical Wednesday for UNK students. The sun was beginning to melt mounds of snow. Students milled around on campus heading to classes. An unremarkable day for many would turn into a day some will never forget.
In the late morning hours of Feb. 9, Daniel “Dan” Poly, 21, was found unresponsive in his room in University Residence South on the UNK campus. After an autopsy, Buffalo County Attorney Shawn Eatherton said Poly's apparent cause of death was accidental asphyxiation.
Following the death of UNK student Khoa Tam Vu on Dec. 12, the UNK community was shaken by the second death of a student. “The death of a student affects the entire UNK community, and I know that all of us send our deepest expressions of sympathy to Dan’s parents, family and friends,” said Joseph Oravecz, dean of the division of student affairs.
Because Poly was a member and past president of the Theta Kappa chapter of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, UNK’s Greek community was particularly stricken. Wednesday night, the Greek organizations met to offer counseling services and help to students in need. On campus counseling in Counseling and Health Care in the Memorial Student Affairs Building has also been offered to students.
As students struggle with the loss of their fellow classmate, Poly’s professors have been offering as much help as they can.
“Dan wouldn’t want us to be upset. He wasn’t the kind of person who wanted people to be upset about him or anything else. I think Dan would always want us to think about him as being there and propping us up to support us,” said Professor George Lawson, Poly’s communications professor and advisor.
A visitation and memorial for Poly was held on Sunday and memorial services took place Monday morning at the St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Bellevue.
Poly, a communications major from Omaha, was scheduled to graduate in May with his bachelor’s degree in organizational communications. For students in need of counseling, services are still available through the office of Counseling and Health Care or at 308-865-8248.
More about Daniel Poly will follow in a tribute story featured in next week's edition of The Antelope.