SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A shocking suicide on the San Jose State University campus earlier this year is now the subject of an $11 million claim against the school.

On February 9, 18-year-old Brenden Tiggs was found in his campus dorm room, hanging from his bunk bed. His sudden suicide shocked many students, who held a memorial for the freshman.

“A bunch of people spoke. It was definitely traumatizing and eye-opening,” said a fellow student.

Now, Tiggs’ family is filing an $11 million claim against San Jose State. They claim sometime after 1:00 a.m., two university-trained resident assistants were staffing a desk in the second floor elevator lobby of Joe West Hall, when Tiggs walked towards the door. The RA’s said he appeared disheveled, stumbling and under the influence of alcohol. The claim states that one of the RA’s recognized Tiggs and let him in the dormitory, and that instead of taking steps consistent with their training and protocol of dealing with an intoxicated underaged drinker, they escorted him to another student’s room, before calling university police.

The claim states that police arrived and interviewed Tiggs and instead of seeking help from a professional health care provider, they allowed him to stay in the dorm room overnight. He was found dead in his own dorm room later that day.

A spokeswoman for San Jose State University said they do not generally comment on pending claims, which often lead to civil lawsuits.

Retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, who is heading a university task force looking into racial tensions on campus, said this is another blow for the school.

“This is a time where San Jose State really has to focus on not only that whole issue of bullying and how students of color feel on the campus, but also this issue of dealing with mental illness, dealing with people who are in crisis and stressed out,” Cordell said.

San Jose State University is also facing a claim from an the family of an African American student, alleging the university ignored the warning signs that 17-year-old Donald Williams Jr. was being racially bullied by four of his suite mates. That incident led to an internal investigation and the formation of the task force that Cordell heads.


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