A College of Agriculture and Life Sciences student who aspired to become a veterinarian and was active in LGBTQ and other groups on campus was found dead in the Latino Living Center in Anna Comstock Hall on Sunday night.
Angel Hierro ’17, remembered as a caring friend who represented the familial qualities of the living center, was studying animal science and was set to graduate this year, Vice President Ryan Lombardi said in a statement.
Cornell Police are investigating the death but do not believe any foul play is involved, Lombardi said, adding that Hierro was found in his residence.
Hierro was from North Bergen, N.J., Lombardi said, and was active in many campus organizations promoting the rights of LGBTQ+, first-generation and Latinx Cornell students.
“He was an active member and leader in the LGBTQ+ community, Latinx community, and the First Generation Student Union,” five Student Assembly members said in a statement. “Angel was always the first student to welcome us to any event and he was always a strong advocate for the needs of his community.”
Hierro emphatically supported the rights of undocumented students and queer students and was the internal relations chair of HAVEN, Cornell’s LGBTQ student union, according to its Facebook page.
Peers remembered Hierro as a caring friend who was a welcoming, warm presence in the living center’s main lounge, always offering support and advice to residents and friends.
“He supported me whenever I leaped out of my comfort zone, gently motivated me, and gave wise advice whenever it was needed,” Claudia Quihuis ’20 said. “The impact that he has had on all of us will never leave.”
“I can only hope that I can be to future younger students what Angel was to me.”
“If anyone represented what the Latino Living Center is (a family), it was him,” Viri Garcia ’20, a resident of the living center, said.
Hierro is listed as an officer for MOSAIC, a Cornell “social support group that caters to the interests and issues of queer people of color and allies,” and, in one picture online, stands holding a sign that reads, “I support undocumented immigrants.”
In another picture, he smiles holding pictures of the flags of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in each hand.
“It is with great sadness that we share in the loss of our friend and colleague Angel Hierro,” Haven said in a statement. “Angel’s impact on our community and our work on campus was immense and we send love and light to his friends, family, and the larger Cornell Community. We are so thankful that we were able to know him.”
A remembrance is expected to be scheduled for later this week.
Cornell support services include counselors from Gannett Counseling and Psychological Services, who can be reached at 607-255-5155. Students may also speak with a peer counselor by calling EARS at 607-255-3277. Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at 607-255-2673. The Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. For a full list of resources, visit caringcommunity.cornell.edu.
Clarification: A previous version of this story stated that several remembrances will be held over the next few days. In fact, these events are only for those directly involved and a larger remembrance will be scheduled soon.