Angel Hierro '17 was found dead in the Latino Living Center on Sunday night.

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Angel Hierro '17 was found dead in the Latino Living Center on Sunday night.

March 6, 2017

CALS Student Remembered as Leader of LGBTQ, Latinx Communities

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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.

  • anonymous

    How sad. I don’t attend Cornell, but I feel I can relate to this students’ feeling of being suicidal. When I was in my teens and early 20s, I was going through tough, emotional times, due to years of childhood abuse finally getting to me and my perfectionistic fear that I wouldn’t become successful in life without attending an Ivy League school or another college (I also didn’t like the idea of being forced to have student loans of around $50,000 and feared that I might not be employed afterwards, and able to pay that off). So, I thought about suicide a lot, but eventually, on my own, time helped me get over these feelings; it was difficult to get through my despair on my own, but, being young and unemployed, I couldn’t afford to see a therapist, and I didn’t want to reveal my childhood abuse because I felt ashamed and a part of feared it might get my parents locked up or in trouble.

    Although, I still haven’t completely gotten rid of thought that an Ivy League education would’ve helped me in life.

    • anonymous

      I forgot to add: Yes, I hid my pain and struggles from everyone, out of deep shame and fear, so that my outward life would appear to be perfect and normal to my friends and teachers, just like Angel Hierro’s, apparently.

    • E. A.

      Why do you feel the need to make this about yourself?

    • S.L

      At no point in the above article does it say it was a suicide.

    • P.M.

      Crisis management has confirmed that there is no evidence to suggest that suicide was involved. Please do not make assumptions in order to respect the family and Angel.

  • Kelly McClure

    This is such a loss to our community. We lost a beautiful soul and we will forever remember him. He truly left his mark on Cornell and on the countless students he impacted. It can not be emphasized enough, how much he was loved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Angelica

    The event at the LLC is a small gathering for residents and out of house members, not a remembrance. That will be planned later this week.

    Please out of respect for the students processing closest to him, wait to hear about the larger event at another time.

    • S.L

      You should email the author and ask him to update the article.

      • Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

        Fixed. Thanks for emailing. -Nick

  • Cindy

    He was an amazing soul and person. He devoted his time at the Animal shelter in cliffside park, nj. Everyday he came and walked all the dogs until they were all walked. Not only did he create beautiful bonds with the animals, but with many of the volunteers and staff at that shelter. He will forever be remembered as a Angel, a beautiful soul who had a bright future ahead… 🌹💛

  • Reality Check

    Why does The Sun avoid any terms addressing cause of death where suicide, substance-abuse and/or perhaps other causes are far more likely than natural expiration of life? The Cornell community should be facing the realities of life and death to a greater extent than seems to be the norm. Too many deaths occur without appropriate public documentation of what happened.

    • Anon.

      Because it is wrong to jump to speculation while cause was still under investigation and would be disrespectful to Angel, his friends and family. It has been confirmed that it actually was natural causes btw.

      • Reality Check

        Thanks, Anon, for joining the conversation. The original Sun item was posted maybe 15 hours after Angel’s death was recognized, and I suspect that authorities at that point knew more about the circumstances of death than was documented in The Sun. I believe that student deaths should be publicly documented with cause of death. If The Sun can’t document cause of death in the first report, there should be follow-up with that info.

        • anonymus

          Actually No that information should not be public record. It is not anyone’s business how someone passed away, Especially if the family chooses not to disclose that information. I would like to address everyone speculating, do not assume you know what happened when you have absolutely no idea what happened. You did not know him, I should know I am his family. I ask you kindly to have respect for my family thank you.

          • Anon.

            I am family too and was just as annoyed by the comments so I had to shut down the rumor mill. People do not understand that learning the cause actually did take time and even the family did not know, but somehow the public feels they have the right.

      • x

        The way people were talking at the vigil made it seem like it was a suicide at least in my perspective. I just can’t believe that though. Even though I know I have no right to know and that the family deserves privacy, respect and space I can’t help but wonder what actually happened and why he was taken so soon.

  • My heartfelt prayers & solidarity in Spirit to the family of Cornell CALS student Angel Hierro, all of his friends & members of the LGBTQ+ & LATINOx communities, along with o(ur) entire Cornell Community, Peace to Each & All of Us!

    I cannot remember where, yet, know Angel greeted me and my service dog, Teranga, “Hospitality & Respect” in the Wolof of Senegal.

    I thank Dustin Ducky Lui for FB posts that notified me. As an alum Class of 1977 CALS, only coming out to the entire Cornell Community in 2012 at “Open Mike for Mike (Abrams)”, I had hoped to just say how proud of Angel I am on hearing others given the respect to speak at Sage today.

    I hoped all present would continue their care for All on campus after Sage celebration of his Life, Learning, Laughing, Loving, Liberating & Lighting o(Ur) world.

    Having had hate & disrespectful acts against myself & Teranga on campus, I pray Angel’s Active Affirmation of All may be emulated in the true egalitarian excellence of Ezra Cornell& Andrew Dickson White.

    As I wrote for my own beloved, Alvin, also, gone too soon, I would like to offer my poem for All whom are mourning with personal & communal care for Angel, dedicated to Angel’s Life & ending all discrimination:

    When Words Won’t Do

    When words won’t do
    And only tears in
    w
    a
    t
    e
    r
    f-a-l-l-s
    Or just
    d-
    r-
    o-
    p-
    s,
    One-by-One…

    Come from
    Inside of You,
    Be not afraid!

    For tears tell
    The Truth,
    When words won’t do:

    To speak to the depths
    Of our e-m-o-t-i-o-n-s,
    To witness to One’s
    Real devotion…

    Others may not understand
    Or allow…

    I let my tears tell
    The Truth:

    “I still and
    A-l-w-a-y-s
    Shall Love You,”
    E-v-e-n
    When words won’t do.

    Michael-Vincent Crea
    27 June 2010
    [c] All Rights Reserved; Permission to Share Pro Bono with Attribution:
    Unconditional, One Love: Me, U, Urs, Each & All of Us!

  • Ramon Nevarez

    AS A FAMILY MEMBER FROM CALIFORNIA ! AS MANY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR LOVE ANGEL. UNDERSTAND THAT OUR LIVES ARE IN GOD’S HANDS! NOT THE MEDIA OR THOSE WHO WANT TO HATE OR ASSUME! EVERYONE DESERVES RESPECT AND PRIVACY TOO ! WE ARE A VERY PROUD FAMILY AND LOVE EVERYONE! NO MATTER YOUR RACE OR ETHNICITY! SO IN GOD WE TRUST AMEN !! RAYMOND. NEVAREZ SR. U.S.ARMY VET!