Ithaca: Still Gorges? Cornell Erects Suicide Barriers

In response to the tragic suicide spike plaguing Cornell’s campus, the school has taken up a more aggressive approach than counseling, pamphlets and smiley-face posters. The administration has set up 7-foot metal fences on the sides of its highest-risk bridge in an effort to deter would-be jumpers.

The aesthetics-conscious have cried foul, arguing that Cornell’s no-higher-than-average suicide rate does not merit robbing the campus of its natural, vertiginous beauty: the suicidal will just find another way to do the deadly deed. We’re inclined to disagree. Psych-research indicates that removing the immediate means of self-destruction may, in fact, be the best preventative tool of all. When stopped in the impulsive act, the desperate generally don’t turn elsewhere. Indeed, the dark romanticism of the beautiful bridges themselves may prove tantalizing to the lonely and confused. As Kant wrote, (wow, IvyGate’s quoting Kant):

“[Anyone seeing] deep gorges with raging streams in them, wastelands lying deep in shadow and inviting melancholy meditation, and so on is indeed seized by amazement bordering on terror, by horror and sacred thrill. [He is] diminished to insignificance, [and sees only the] misery, peril, and distress that would compass the man who was thrown to its mercy.”

As hard as it is to speculate, we can’t help but think that perhaps one of the six confused students who took their lives at Cornell this year could have used a moment’s more reflection, peering up at near-insurmountable metal bars, or a short walk away from the unbearable heat of the moment. For now, IvyGate’s in favor of the suicide barriers. Your take? A necessary evil or useless eyesore? Take a look at our pictures after the jump and judge for yourself.

  • whoops

    “According to data recently compiled for 2004-2005, the Hopkins’ Counseling Center expects one student suicide every 1.5 years or an average of 7.7 suicides per 100,000 students — close to the national average of 7.5 deaths per 100,000 students…Studies indicate that suicide statistics do not follow trends in intensity of college programs or college type. Some Ivy League schools have lower than rumored rates of suicides. Cornell University, for example, reports an average of 5.7 student deaths per 100,000 students every year. Harvard and Duke Universities see 7.4 and 6.1 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 students annually. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports an annual average of 10.2 student deaths, the highest suicide rate in the nation.”

    written 2006 (on 4/20 lol) but just wanted to let you know…. you guys are fuckers.

  • whoops

    “According to data recently compiled for 2004-2005, the Hopkins’ Counseling Center expects one student suicide every 1.5 years or an average of 7.7 suicides per 100,000 students — close to the national average of 7.5 deaths per 100,000 students…Studies indicate that suicide statistics do not follow trends in intensity of college programs or college type. Some Ivy League schools have lower than rumored rates of suicides. Cornell University, for example, reports an average of 5.7 student deaths per 100,000 students every year. Harvard and Duke Universities see 7.4 and 6.1 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 students annually. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports an annual average of 10.2 student deaths, the highest suicide rate in the nation.”

    written 2006 (on 4/20 lol) but just wanted to let you know…. you guys are fuckers.

  • whoops

    “According to data recently compiled for 2004-2005, the Hopkins’ Counseling Center expects one student suicide every 1.5 years or an average of 7.7 suicides per 100,000 students — close to the national average of 7.5 deaths per 100,000 students…Studies indicate that suicide statistics do not follow trends in intensity of college programs or college type. Some Ivy League schools have lower than rumored rates of suicides. Cornell University, for example, reports an average of 5.7 student deaths per 100,000 students every year. Harvard and Duke Universities see 7.4 and 6.1 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 students annually. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports an annual average of 10.2 student deaths, the highest suicide rate in the nation.”

    written 2006 (on 4/20 lol) but just wanted to let you know…. you guys are fuckers.
    http://media.www.jhunewsletter.com/media/storage/paper932/news/2006/04/20/News/Hopkins.Suicide.Rate.In.Line.With.National.College.Trend-2242150.shtml

    • Ithacaisfences1

      The community must have a reasonable discussion about whether the fences are necessary at all.

      The fences clearly have not worked. They haven’t prevented accidents – a student “fell” to his death into the fenced gorge in the Fall 2010. They haven’t stopped suicides – a student jumped from Taughannock Falls in December 2010.

      There is also an new article in Landscape Architecture that condemns the fences.
      http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issue=416152063&rf=usa_clt_lam&o=ext

      Please visit http://www.ithacaisfences.org for more information and arguments against the fences.

  • whoops

    “According to data recently compiled for 2004-2005, the Hopkins’ Counseling Center expects one student suicide every 1.5 years or an average of 7.7 suicides per 100,000 students — close to the national average of 7.5 deaths per 100,000 students…Studies indicate that suicide statistics do not follow trends in intensity of college programs or college type. Some Ivy League schools have lower than rumored rates of suicides. Cornell University, for example, reports an average of 5.7 student deaths per 100,000 students every year. Harvard and Duke Universities see 7.4 and 6.1 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 students annually. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports an annual average of 10.2 student deaths, the highest suicide rate in the nation.”

    written 2006 (on 4/20 lol) but just wanted to let you know…. you guys are fuckers.
    http://media.www.jhunewsletter.com/media/storage/paper932/news/2006/04/20/News/Hopkins.Suicide.Rate.In.Line.With.National.College.Trend-2242150.shtml

  • TimeforMetoGo

    So if this is blocked off, where would be the best place for me to jump now? I need to this weekend. I’m going to fail my class and I get let this be known to anyone personally. I don’t want to fail my friends, myself, and especially not my family. I have to just end it now.

  • Guest

    I know it’s not funny, but pictures of the suicide barrier “After the jump” … come on, guys…word choice please?

  • Roger14850

    Hello,

    I will be writing an editorial on my Cornell Students / Scholars website concerning this issue from a social science and historical Student / Scholars view.  None the less, and the reason for this insert is to generate additional information – feedback from the viewers of this webiste.

    The Social Contract.

    Before the era in which America Academia was negsatively affected by the economic ripple affects as a direct result of the price of the Arab Crude as set by OPEC  increased by 500%, major campuses were experimenting in Students / Scholars empowerment issues. At that time the Administration of these campuses were likewise looking in providing academic services to those interested in University / College degrees who were labled as Non – Traditional Students / Scholars – the age set at 26 years old and up.

    What the affect this had on the traditional Students / Scholars base, such as in Cornell’s case was the demand for more independent student associations to emerge while cmpuses wide reported crises levels fell- Pre 1974. In the case of the University Buffalo, this was achieved as the interaction between the Non – Traditional and the Traditional Students / Scholars based lessened the need for campus wide crises services, as the anxieties of the Students / Scholars based were slowly being reduced by the day to day interaction of Freshman class who were 17 / 18 were socially and academicallly interacting with 27 and up year olds —- who made up 6 % of  the undergraduate core.  The preventive student wide runned Sunshine House, was the sole determined cause - celeb  in crises reductions.  The additional inclusion of Vietnam veterans likewise had a positive affect on reducing the campus wide campus anxiety levels as well when they made up at lease 2% or more of the campus undergrate core.

    However, then one closely examine Cornell’s undergraduate core of students today both populations are absents, though there are a few, and in even more retrospective this, the removal of this population base. was deliberate phase out proces, in University admissions process, taken up between 1977 to 1987 and saw both the rise of student wide criese levels and student services to affect remedies as a result.  Persian Gulf veterans are likewise absent in significant numbers.  Administration policies through Students Affairs have sought more micro management of student activities since 1987 – increaing anxiety levels as well as the normal human developmental process of teens emerging into fully functional adults were being likewise negatively affected; thus laying the continued foundations of the cycle of campus suicides.

    At campuses in which 6% of the undergraduate core is made up of Non – Traditional Students the suicide rates are low while at the same time the average academic levels of achivement are higher on average.  The campuses in which student activities are independent sponsored by fully independent student unions, the more judgment proof are the academic institutions from law suits.  The higher level of campus crises services the higher the suicide rates and all one has to look at is the lower percentage, or total absences of Non-Traditional base.  Moreover, when one looks at those who are the service providers one notes they repredent a higher level of adults who are unable to maintain normal family lives.  Thus suggest that there exist at Cornell a core of predators, or those who are unable to get jobs with the private sector market place.

    Please send me your reactions to Roger M. Christian.  roger14850@lycos.com
    Roger M. Christian
    Ithaca Night Life ( NightLife ), NY OnLine Publications.