Student, 19, dies after fall at Fan house party

VCU student Emma Munson, 19, died over the weekend after falling down a flight of stairs at a house party late Saturday night.

Liz Butterfield
Online News Editor

VCU freshman Emma Munson died this past weekend after falling and injuring her head at a house party in the Fan.

Munson, a freshman in the art foundation program, was drinking at a party with friends at 11 S. Morris St. on Saturday night.  Around 11:40 p.m., Munson fell backwards down a flight of stairs, hit her head and was knocked unconscious. Her head was bleeding and she was breathing inconsistently, said Matt Simpson, a Richmond resident who saw Munson fall and tried to perform CPR on her.

“I asked what her name was, and she said ‘Emma,’ and then she dropped,” Simpson said.

Paramedics arrived around 11:45 p.m. and rushed Munson to VCU Medical Center.

As of press time, it is unclear whether Munson was pronounced dead Saturday night or early Sunday morning; friends learned of her death on Sunday.

Munson celebrated her 19th birthday on Sept. 25. She was from Pittsburgh, Penn. and enjoyed music and art. Friends say she planned to major in glassblowing or art therapy after finishing the art foundation program.

Grace Whiteside, a freshman art student and close friend of Munson’s, attended the party. Although Munson had been drinking, Whiteside said her friend was not visibly intoxicated at the time of the fall.

“We had been drinking a little bit but it wasn’t to any extent that we couldn’t control the situation,” she said. “She was the friendliest person I had met. She couldn’t say a bad thing about anybody and that’s something I really respected.”



  1. Who "okayed" this? This portrays Emma as a drinker who got stupid at a party and lost her life. There is too much information in this article regarding what happened and it goes against the family's wishes of not having anything regarding this online because they were still notifying friends and family. This article does NOT go into detail of how much of a kind hearted person she was and what she accomplished outside of this incident and now people are saying she deserved it because she was drinking and stupid. I find this article totally insensitive and unacceptable.

  2. Victoria,

    The article was not meant to portray Emma or her actions in a negative light. It was meant to inform the VCU community that a fellow student had died and, to the best of our knowledge at the time, how it happened. By all accounts, Emma was not drinking heavily at the party; Grace Whiteside's quote at the bottom of the story says as much. We're sorry if this is the way you or any of Emma's friends or family learned of her death. But we have a responsibility to write about it and that's why we did so.

    We are working on a longer story about Emma that will be published on October 13th in our newspaper and online. That story will go into more detail about who Emma was. If you have any other concerns or questions, you can email

  3. Victoria as you will learn in life the media has no respect for people's feeling in their time of grief. The only thing they care about is how they can sensationalize a story. They really didn't need to ad that she had been drinking sat this point it really makes no difference

  4. Im so sorry for her family and friends. A beautiful girl with so much talent. My son was at that party, I know he will be so sorry to hear she has passed. A very tragic story.

  5. My daughter was a friend of Emma's I met her when they were moving in to the dorm. She had a radiant smile and was very easy to talk to my daughter even mimicked the braids Emma had in her hair. Sad ending to a beautiful life. Cherish every day and remember Jesus loves you and died on the cross for you.

  6. This story doesn't portray Emma as a "drinker" like you say.. If anything her friends quote validates that Emma wasn't sloppy drunk. The world works in mysterious ways. I lost a friend during his senior year (my junior year) of high school to a freak accident and losing a friend when they're young and have so much in front of them is very rough and seems totally unfair. Especially when the friend is very popular,has a huge heart, and everyone wants to be by their side. That being said, the media has an obligation to the public regardless of the circumstances Ms. Victoria, so getting upset is doing nothing, but making your heart heavier. I'm sure you're having a difficult time right now and your comment was a way to vent your frustrations over the loss of your friend. Life will get easy again, but for now hold your head high and remember the good memories your friend left you…

  7. If people are saying mean things because Emma may have been drinking at a party, that says more about the people saying hurtful things than it does about Emma. The fact that she was at a party drinking says nothing about her character as a person. What happened to her could have happened to anyone sober, tipsy, drunk or any other state.

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