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University Relations

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October 12, 2005
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

Bingham memorial services planned; KU offers assistance to displaced students

LAWRENCE -- A memorial service for Nicole Bingham, a University of Kansas student killed in last week's apartment complex fire, will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave. A second service is planned for the following week in Bingham's hometown of Wichita.

A memorial scholarship in Bingham's name is being established at the Kansas University Endowment Association. Memorial contributions also may be made to the Ronald McDonald House at 2501 Cherry St. in Kansas City, Mo. The Ronald McDonald House was Bingham's favorite charity after she underwent open-heart surgery for a serious heart defect at Children's Mercy Hospital in 1999 and convalesced at the home.

"She couldn't play football but she was an excellent debater," said her mother, Nancy Bingham, noting that Nicole competed in high school debate for four years at Wichita North High School. "The world lost a ray of sunshine when she died. She will not be gone as long as we remember what she shared with us and pass it on to others."

Bingham would have turned 22 today.

The university continues to offer assistance to students who lost their apartments, cars and belongings in the Oct. 7 fire at the Boardwalk Apartments, located three miles west of campus in Lawrence. Three people, including Bingham and KU graduate Yolanda Riddle, died in the fire. Two students are hospitalized at KU Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.

"This is such a horrible tragedy and we mourn for Nicole and all those who either lost their lives or were injured in the fire. We are grateful so many were able to escape," said Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success. "We want to do everything we can to help the survivors get back on their feet as quickly as possible and not let this terrible incident disrupt their college careers. It would be difficult for anyone to stay focused on their studies in a time like this, but the university is here to help and remove as many barriers as possible."

University officials report that several students have contacted KU for assistance. Records show up to 32 KU students may have lived in the apartments at the time of the fire based on rental records. It is believed fewer than 32 actually lived at the complex when the fire broke out.

Ten students have contacted the Office of Student Financial Aid asking for financial assistance. The office is able to award emergency grants to help displaced students. In addition, 13 students have received new textbooks and school supplies from KU Bookstore in the Kansas Union. The University Libraries will replace any library materials lost in the fire. Faculty, staff and administrators are assisting students, such as helping replace lost passports and school materials.

Resources and contact information include:

General questions about university assistance: Dean of Students Office, (785) 864-4060.

Questions about financial aid assistance: Office of Student Financial Aid, (785) 864-4700 or 50 Strong Hall. Emergency grants are available and amounts awarded will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Questions about academic issues or contacting faculty: Academic Achievement and Access Center, (785) 864-4064.

Questions about temporary housing: KU Student Housing, (785) 864-4560.

Replacing lost textbooks and school supplies: KU Bookstores, (800) 458-1111. Affected students should present a copy of their class schedule to a cashier and bookstore staff will take care of the details from there.

In addition, the Lawrence Community Interfaith Initiative has created a hotline to help people displaced by the fire. The number is 842-7618. Or send information -- name, address, phone number, specific needs and verification that they were affected by the fire -- by e-mail to Victims also may go to the Leo Center storage facility from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday to pick up donated items. The facility is north of the railroad tracks at Seventh and New York streets.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045