Steuernagel family receives support

Christina Stavale

Professor still in critical condition

Gertrude Steuernagel’s office door on the third floor of Bowman Hall remains closed, but the wall outside is decorated with drawings by her son, Sky Walker. A basket on the main desk in the political science department allows students to drop off cards to be delivered to Akron City Hospital, where she remains in critical condition.

“It seems quiet around here without her,” said Tom Hensley, emeritus professor of political science. “She enjoyed students and laughs.”

Steuernagel, professor of political science, was found beaten in her home a week ago today after her colleagues became concerned when she did not show up for her 9:15 a.m. class. Walker, whom Steuernagel said has autism in a letter to the editor, was charged with felonious assault and assaulting an officer.

To offer support for Steuernagel and Walker, students may:

• Drop off cards or letters of support at the political science department on the third floor of Bowman Hall.

• Drop off canned goods for her family who is in town.

• Send e-mails to Julie Mazzei at [email protected] The e-mails will be read aloud to Steuernagel and Walker.

His preliminary hearing, according to Portage County Court links, is at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow. Errol A. Can, his co-counsel of the law firm Williams, Welser and Kratcoski Attorneys at Law, offered no comment at the time.

Meanwhile, faculty and students are doing what they can to offer support.

“The classes (Steuernagel was teaching) are in very good hands with some of our best instructors,” said Steven Hook, chair of the political science department.

Richard Stanislaw, assistant professor of political science, will be teaching her American Political Theory course, and Jennifer Maxwell, associate professor of political science, will be teaching her Women, Politics and Policy course. Guest lecturers, including Hensley, will also contribute to that class.

Hook said providing top faculty is the most valuable gift the department is able to give Steuernagel at the moment.

“Nobody can truly replace Trudy in the classroom,” he said, “but our faculty has teamed up to serve her students very well.”

In addition to the cards students can drop off for both Steuernagel and Walker, Hook said students can also bring in canned goods for Steuernagel’s family, who have moved in from out of town. They may also send e-mails through Julie Mazzei, assistant professor of political science, at [email protected]

These e-mails, he said, will be read aloud to the two of them.

Hensley said one of the department’s major concerns is Steuernagel’s son, so he encouraged students to remember him as well.

“(Trudy) was a devoted mother to Sky,” he said. “That was more difficult than any of us could imagine.”

He called Steuernagel a “terrific colleague” and “one of the most accomplished professors.”

“We wish her well,” Hensley said. “We hope that she recovers and returns to where she belongs.”

Contact public affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].