Professors, students take time to reflect on Derting

Time seemed to stand still at Murray State the morning of March 15 after a student fell to his death from the Price Doyle Fine Arts Center.

Officials reported Jacob Derting, junior from Bardstown, Ky., jumped from a seventh floor window in an officially determined suicide.

Derting was a biology major and member of the Anime Club on campus.

John Crofton, professor of engineering and physics, said there is now an empty seat in the front row of his Introductory to Physics class where Derting used to sit.

“I expect to see him there and I don’t see him,” Crofton said. “I miss him.”

The incident left Crofton along with other faculty members who knew Derting shocked, he said.

“It’s really tragic,” Crofton said.

He said Derting was in more than one of his classes and like most students took his schoolwork seriously.

“I just knew him to be a very nice young man,” Crofton said. “He was polite and he worked hard and he came to class regularly.”

He said the class has only met a few times since the incident and Derting’s absence is noticed.

“There is just a hole there,” Crofton said. “He is missed.”

Emily Callahan, senior from Collinsville, Ill., said for the past three years she has had class with Derting at least once a semester and he always managed to make everyone laugh.

Callahan said no matter what was being discussed in class Derting would think of something witty to say and put a smile on her face.

“He was so funny,” she said. “That’s how I am going to remember him.”

Derting’s sense of humor always made class more fun, Callahan said.

On the morning of the incident Callahan said she had a test in her genetics class, a class Derting was also in.

At the time of the test she didn’t notice him missing, it wasn’t until later she heard the news of what happened, Callahan said.

“I didn’t hear any rumors about who it was until I got back to my apartment,” she said. “My friend texted me and said that it was Jake. I didn’t want to believe it.”

Callahan said afterward she sent a text message to Derting asking him how he thought he did on the test.

“It was really hard to know I wasn’t going to get an answer,” she said. “I still haven’t deleted the text message because I still don’t want to believe it’s true.”

Callahan said she was completely taken aback by the news of Derting’s death because she had just talked to him the Tuesday before about what would be on their next test.

“That’s what took me by surprise the most,” she said.

Callahan said Derting always seemed to be a fun, bright and sarcastic individual.

She said the hardest part of going to class now is seeing the empty seat where Derting used to sit.

“It’s almost surreal,” Callahan said. “Knowing he is not going to be there.”

President Randy Dunn said Derting’s death has affected and impacted many people at the University.

“It’s tough because in these things you replay to figure out if there’s some signal or something that could’ve been done to prevent this and sometimes those questions can never be answered,” Dunn said.

Derting’s aunt, Terry Derting, professor of biology, respectfully declined to comment on the incident.