New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Public Safety Officer is the First COVID-19 Death in the NYU Community

Rodney Mack, who worked for NYU’s Office of Public Safety for 21 years — 19 and a half of which were at the College of Dentistry — passed away from complications caused by COVID-19.
Public Safety Officer Rodney Mack was the first person in the NYU community to succumb to COVID-19. (Photo via Twitter @@NYUDPS)

Rodney Mack, an NYU Public Safety Officer, has passed away from COVID-19 complications, according to a statement released by the College of Dentistry.

Known by many as “Mack,” he passed away this Sunday, April making him the first member of the NYU community to die from COVID-19 complications. He worked for NYU’s Office of Public Safety for 21 years, serving 19 and a half years at the College of Dentistry, the statement said.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing on Sunday, April 5, 2020, of Public Safety Officer Rodney Mack, who succumbed to complications of the coronavirus,” the College of Dentistry said.

As part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NYS on PAUSE policy, public security officers like Mack are deemed essential workers, crucial for combatting the pandemic.

The College of Dentistry said it remembered Mack for his friendly and attentive demeanor, adding that he was an important part of its community. 

“Mack was an integral member of our community,” the statement reads. “It often seemed that he knew every one of us by name—students, faculty, administrators, and staff; he never failed to ask how we were; and he always had a good story or a quip to share with us.”

A GoFundMe memorial fund was started on April 6 to support Mack’s family. It has amassed 76 donors and 60 shares at time of publication. 

I know that our school will never feel the same without Mack’s bright smile and all the life and beautiful energy he put into our community,” a paragraph on the fundraising site reads. “Your donations will go directly to Mack’s family to help alleviate some of the burdens so that they can focus only on remembering their beloved Mack.”

An outpouring of condolences and public support has been expressed via social media and comments on the GoFundMe site.

Quoting a tweet from the NYU Office of Public Safety referring to Mack as a fixture at the school of dentistry, NYU Res Life and Housing expressed its condolences.

“Before being assigned to @NYUDental he was frequently assigned to residence hall posts,” the tweet read. “Many of our staff worked closely with Officer Mack and remember him for his kindness and service to the NYU community.” 

The College of Dentistry stated that Mack will be greatly missed and is remembered for his commitment to safety and his pleasant disposition. 

“In his dedication to keeping all of us safe, he leaves behind a legacy of distinguished service, and we will miss him greatly,” the College of Dentistry stated.

Email Lisa Cochran at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Lisa Cochran
Lisa Cochran, News Editor
Lisa Cochran is a sophomore studying Journalism and the Politics concentration within GLS. She is originally from Ames, Iowa — which is more of a vague concept than a real geographical location. When she is not hunched over her or someone else’s WSN article at 2 a.m., she is probably reading literature about being sad, (wastefully) using Nespresso pods at a rate of 3 pods per hour, incessantly rating movies on LetterBoxd or absurdly overdressing for everyday occasions. She is super edgy... meaning she is always on edge. Follow her on Twitter for more shocking details @lisaacochran.

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