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USC offers ride share safety tips, extra counseling after Samantha Josephson’s death

USC community holds vigil for Samantha Josephson

The USC community held a vigil to honor the memory of Samantha Josephson Sunday night at the Strom Thurmond Center Sunday March 31, 2019, in Columbia, SC.
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The USC community held a vigil to honor the memory of Samantha Josephson Sunday night at the Strom Thurmond Center Sunday March 31, 2019, in Columbia, SC.

The University of South Carolina is offering extended counseling hours and ride share safety tips after the death of Samantha Josephson.

Police say Josephson was murdered by Nathaniel Rowland, 24, whom she thought was her Uber driver, early Friday morning.

“The events of last week were extremely difficult for our entire community. Mere words cannot match the depth of sorrow we feel or fill the sudden hole torn in our collective hearts,” USC President Harris Pastides said in an email to the student body.

In that email, Pastides said he had met with Josephson’s family and friends Sunday morning and urged students “in Samantha’s memory” to immediately begin using two, key safety tips when taking an Uber or a Lyft.

First: make sure the car that arrives to pick you up matches the model, color and license plate number listed in the app. Make sure the driver’s name and photo matches the description in the app, Pastides said.

Second: ask the driver “what’s my name?” and if they get it wrong or don’t know, do not get in the car, Pastides said.

Though Josephson’s death has drawn international attention, another USC student died on campus last Monday of an apparent suicide. For students grieving the loss of Josephson, or the other student whose name has not been released, the university is offering extended counseling hours, USC spokesman Jeff Stensland said.

Walk-in counseling sessions will be held at the Thompson Building (behind Russell House student center) during the following hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students can also access counseling services 24/7 through the school’s hotline, which can be reached at 803-777-5523.

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