SIXTEEN Midlands State University (MSU) students and four staff members died due to various reasons between March and this month, an official said yesterday.

MSU senior ecumenical chaplain reverend Menson Mpofu said the deaths occurred during the last semester that ran between March 12 and August 20. Three students and one staff member committed suicide.

Mpofu said tomorrow the university would hold a church service in memory of those who died and to dedicate the new semester to God.

"Notice and invitation is hereby given to all staff members, students, pastors and family members that there will be a university beginning of semester and memorial church service that will be held on Wednesday 27 August 2014," he said in a statement.

Mpofu said the church service would afford the university an opportunity to welcome new students and staff as well as returning ones.

"The purpose of the church service is to commit and dedicate the beginning of the July to November 2014 semester to God, welcome the new students, welcome back our returning students and staff and to memorialise the lives of our departed beloved students, our staff members and relatives of our staff members," he said.

The Gweru-based university is now one of the largest tertiary institutions in the country.

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