SOC sophomore passes away in DC residence, AU says

Professors remember Eli Weinstock as talented and thoughtful

SOC sophomore passes away in DC residence, AU says
Cherry blossoms in bloom on an empty campus.

Eli Weinstock, a sophomore in the School of Communication, passed away Wednesday in his D.C. residence, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Fanta Aw wrote Thursday in an email to the American University community.

Weinstock was found unconscious and not breathing in the shower in his home on Van Ness Street NW, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report. The investigation is ongoing.

“We extend our sympathy to Eli’s family and friends and those in the AU community who knew him,” Aw said. “The physical separation of our community makes it hard to mourn together, and we know this compounds the difficulty during this painful time.”

Aw said in Thursday’s email that students can look to the Counseling Center for support if they are experiencing a crisis and are affected by the loss. Faculty and staff can access support through an assistance program at (202) 885-2593.

"The entire School of Communication is devastated by the loss of one of our bright young community members,” SOC Interim Dean Laura DeNardis wrote in an email to The Eagle. “Our most heartfelt condolences go out to Eli’s family and to his many friends."

Steve Shapiro, coordinator of experiential learning at Bexley City Schools in Ohio, said he knew Weinstock since he was born.

Shapiro said Weinstock, who enjoyed hiking and making short films, was bright, independent and good with children.

“Eli always walked his own path,” Shapiro said.

Professors said Weinstock, who’s from Columbus, Ohio, showed his love for the state through his assignments and was a passionate fan of Ohio sports teams.

SOC professor Sarah Menke-Fish had Weinstock as a student in her Visual Literacy course during the fall 2020 semester. He put together a photo essay featuring pictures from Ohio, she said.

“The class had really built a very nice bond with one another,” said Menke-Fish, who’s taught at AU for around two decades. “I was just devastated.”

Jason Mollica, a professorial lecturer at SOC, recalled when Weinstock spoke about his love for Ohio State football in his “passion speech project.” Mollica said, as a sports fan himself, he was able to connect with Weinstock, even through virtual classes.

“He was diligent and thoughtful. He didn’t waste words,” Mollica said. “He definitely was someone that I could tell, even though we didn’t have much interaction, was thoughtful and wasn’t going to waste his time just yammering and he was definitely a thoughtful and measured person.”

Menke-Fish said Weinstock was a quiet student, but when he spoke he offered thoughtful insights during class. She also said he was artistic and talented.

“As we grieve the loss of a promising young student, please be there for one another and know the AU community is here for everyone,” Aw said.

The University did not offer further comments.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

kcarolan@theeagleonline.com, saustin@theeagleonline.com

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