Sophomore Raymond Baltz III dies in ‘apparent accident’

A stock photo of a New Orleans Emergency Medical Services vehicle.

A stock photo of a New Orleans Emergency Medical Services vehicle.

Sanjali De Silva and Josh Axelrod

Tulane sophomore Raymond Baltz III died Thursday evening in what President Mike Fitts called an apparent accident. 

It is unclear at this time how Baltz died. The Tulane University Police Department daily activity report noted that officers were dispatched to the scene after a student jumped off the upper level stairwell of Phelps House. It is also unclear whether Baltz was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

New Orleans Emergency Services, Tulane University Police Department and Tulane Emergency Services responded to the incident. Baltz was transported to the University Medical Center trauma center where he later died from his injuries. 

Baltz was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and a Wave Leader during freshman orientation. He also served on the Interfraternity Council and was a member of the Undergraduate Student Government finance committee. Baltz resided in Phelps Residence Hall.

Fitts sent an email this morning notifying staff, faculty and students of the death.

“Raymond cherished his time at Tulane, mostly because of the close friendships he made while he was here,” Fitts wrote. “Everyone who knew Raymond loved him – his roommates, his fraternity brothers, and even those who just met him.”

Some students witnessed the accident take place, and a crowd quickly gathered around the scene as staff from Housing and Residence Life ushered students away. News of the tragedy spread quickly through campus as emergency vehicles flew down Drill Road. 

The death of a fellow student sent ripples through an already distressed student body, capping off a frenzied 48 hours in which in-person classes were canceled for the remainder of the semester, students were evicted from residence halls, and news of the coronavirus’s impact escalated.

Students who need additional support tonight should contact the Residential Advisor or Director on call in their residence hall. Students may also call the on-call Case Manager at (504) 920-9900.

A number of student services will operate with expanded hours this weekend.

After hours, students may access The Line for confidential counseling services at (504) 264-6074 or the Student Affairs Professional On-Call at (504) 920-9900. Students may also email [email protected] to communicate with a Case Manager. Students may walk in to CAPS for Counseling Services (located in the Science & Engineering Lab Complex) or Case Management and Victim Support Services (located in the LBC, G02) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The Employee Assistance Program is available for faculty and staff seeking counseling or support. Information about Employee Assistance Programs can be found at https://hr.tulane.edu/benefits/employee-assistance-program.