Bill Zeller, Graduate Student at Princeton, Passes Away

Tragic news out of Princeton: Graduate student Bill Zeller died in a hospital yesterday from injuries sustained in a suicide attempt this past weekend at his home near campus.

 We offer our condolences to all of Zeller’s friends and family.

 According to Princeton University’s website,

A native of Middletown, Conn., Zeller was pursuing a doctoral degree in computer science, having earned his master’s degree from Princeton in 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in 2006. He was active in the Graduate Student Government and participated in an influential technology blog, among other activities.

 The University will host a memorial service on campus on January 15that 2 pm “in the Garden Room of Prospect House with a reception immediately afterward. The service is open to members of the Princeton University campus community and Zeller’s family and friends.”

In addition, counseling services have been made available and will continue to be made available to the whole Princeton community.

For more information concerning counseling support and specifics for the memorial service, please refer to the University’s statement.

All acts of suicide are tragedies to every single individual and institution involved and to the greater Ivy League community. Although the factors involved in suicide vary in each case, one way to avoid hurting yourself is talking to others. Friends, families, doctors, and university officials are all open to hear your concerns and problems.

Our tipster informed us that Zeller published a suicide note on his Facebook profile where he details “his decision to end his life, stemming from being sexually abused as a child.” At the end of his note, Zeller encouraged that the letter be republished and never erased.  He wrote,

 Please save this letter and repost it if gets deleted. I don’t want  people to wonder why I did this. I disseminated it more widely than I might have otherwise because I’m worried that my family might try to restrict access to it. I don’t mind if this letter is made public. In fact, I’d prefer it be made public to people being unable to read it and drawing their own conclusions.

 Feel free to republish this letter, but only if it is reproduced in its entirety.

Although we are not certain whether Zeller’s accusations are true, these are his opinions and justifications. Fulfilling his wishes, IvyGate has the letter available after the jump.

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Man Who Killed Self in Harvard Yard Leaves Massive, Online Suicide Note

Mitchell Heisman, the man who shot himself last weekend in Harvard Yard, killed himself as “Experimental Elimination of Self-Preservation,” according to an extensive suicide note he has published online. The note, found at the domain http://www.suicidenote.info/, is over 1,905 pages long, and divided into complicated subsections. In its totality, the document sketches Heisman’s dense, heavily-cited social, political, and ethical philosophy, and promotes his book, heretofore unpublished. Heisman worked in several bookstores throughout the area, and consulted with Harvard professors in the process of writing the document.

Most arresting of all: the note — tome, really — is probing, deeply researched, and often humorous. Heisman personality and erudition shine through every page, as he traces the philosophical steps that have led him to suicide: not really desperation or depression, but rather, intellectual curiosity, and a desire to test the limits of the unknown. After a quick read, comparisons to Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” abound. All the more sad that such a deeply intelligent young man would choose to cut his scholarly output off at one, interesting book.

Man Kills Self in Harvard Yard

At 10:50am this Saturday, an unidentified, non-university-affiliated man climbed up to the top step of Memorial Church in Harvard Yard, the centre of campus, and shot himself in the head. The Crimson has the full, horror-movie-esque story. Apparently, a group of tourists were posing for pictures in front of the church when the suicide took place, sending them running in fear. According to one freshman witness,

From my friend’s window, I could see him in a pool of blood.

While the man lay dead or dying, other tour groups continued strolling about the Yard, and Harvard’s emergency notification system sent out the following message:

Man in Harvard Yard suffered self-inflicted gunshot wound. Incident Over. No Ongoing Threat.

While Harvard’s campus appears to be under no threat, the area remains taped off.

Oh, Weird! Princeton Makes Actual Stalking Very Easy

Your IvyGate blogger once knew a young man who had big dreams of internet success, but whose every conceptualized project was described as “x famous pre-existing web service, but for Columbia students.” Your blogger found this weird — Columbia students aren’t, y’know, too good for Craigslist or whatever.

But apparently Princetonians are too good for the location-updating Twitter-for-lonelier-people site FourSquare! TigerFinder, which, oddly, enough, seems to have originated from the student government, is an “opt-in service,” whose “service” is to share your IP address with other students so that you can “find friends.” Because texting friends to see where they are is so hard, and Princeton is such a prohibitively large campus! Have fun being kidnapped and burgled more, Princetonians!

CONFIRMED: Cornell Frat On Twenty Week Social Probation

Another day, another drama for Cornell’s beleaguered frat scene, which never quite recovered from the sort of perfect storm of in(s)anity that this past winter in Ithaca brewed up. First Kappa Sigma lost its charter, now we hear, once again, Alpha Delt is losing its raison d’fratre, and for a long, long time! An anonymous tipster declares:

you may be interested to know that alpha delt was given over 20 weeks of social probation meaning that they are not allowed to have a social event until next spring. Chances are they probably wont be able to make it through the period because none of the bros in the house understand the severity of the situation… ie if they have one social event they will be kicked off campus.  only time will tell though i guess we’ll have a better indication of things next spring we’ll see if they can even make it through the school year.

We’ll take that with the grain of salt the eight to twelve implied [sic]s should indicate. But, hmm! Tipsters, please let us know about the latest twist in the Cornell saga — after all, what’s a frat with twenty weeks of no partying? One even less popular than it already is:

The guys in my house all think that cornell would be a happier place without them around as no one really likes them. the guys in the house are losers.

Student Alleges Columbia Mishandled Rape Case

In a confusing and very sad anonymous piece in one of the last Spectators of the year, a student claims that Columbia overturned many of the punishments initially leveled against the male student who sexually assaulted her. The piece is striking for what it does not say: the details of the assault, no doubt incredibly painful to recount, are conspicuous in their absence.

Details of the assault seem hazy — for good reason — but the reader may hesitate before joining the writer in anger at Columbia’s deans for merely kicking the assaulter out of the dorms without suspension. Simply put, more information is needed. There’s a great deal that Dean Michele Moody-Adams, who is said to have overturned the punishments levied against the assaulter after a thirty-page report confirmed the writer’s account, has to answer for in order for students to feel safe at Columbia.

Penn Football Co-Captain Passes Away

Tragic news out of Penn: Wharton junior Owen Thomas was found dead Monday afternoon in his off-campus residence, after taking his own life. After a recent spate of Ivy League suicides, at Cornell and Yale, the news weighs heavily. Owen’s funeral will be held Monday and the university will provide transportation. Our condolences to the Thomas family and Penn community.

“Yaliens” Land in New York, Colonize in Williamsburg

It’s a Yalien invasion!

The Observer ran a story yesterday that about “Yaliens,” Yale grads who get into their little space pods and fly over to New York City, where they find refuge from that other “city” they were stuck in for four years.

Then they create a Yalien colony among themselves, like a transplanted Yale campus—as Slate editor and Yale alum Jacob Weisberg said, “I mean, Williamsburg is sort of the Yale campus without the classes, right?”—in which, so it seems, they replay their Yale experience without the classes, right? As his former classmate, journalist Richard Bradley explained:

“New York is Yale’s backyard…It’s something you take for granted—you’re fish, so you swim in the ocean.”

Aliens, fish, whatever Yale alumni are, they come off (in this article) pretty much the way this blog does. (Whether that’s good or bad, it might depend on the day!) They are unfailingly elitist and remain enclosed in their own private universe. As the Observer article reports, “Yaliens keep to themselves when possible” because, a source explained:

“There aren’t as many people here who are smart and interesting…There are a ton who look like they would be, but they’re not.”

But when they do communicate with outsiders—perhaps while taking the bulldog out for a walk—they have a particular charm that seems to be a blend of smarts, ironic humor, and a genuine love of the mothership. They can’t thrive for too long without it!

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Harvard Foam-Fest Turns Into Fiery Hellstorm

The Crimson‘s FlyBy Blog reports that the annual “Mather Lather” party — at which Ivy League undergrads rub foam all over themselves and pretend to be Ke$ha — was disrupted by a smoke alarm. The foam registered as “the [moral] equivalent of smoke,” whatever that means!

Many of the partiers—many wearing just wet bathing suits—seemed to remain spirited, and most were waiting to return to the party once it reopened.

Aw, Harvard. Even when you try to have fun, you just… can’t. A smoke alarm disrupting your biggest bash of the year? Could you get any more Steve Urkel? It’s like Monty Burns said: “I say let Harvard have its football and academics. Yale will always be first in gentlemanly club life.”

Cornell Killer Stands Trial

The 25-year-old Cornell doctoral student accused of killing his wife is pleading insanity, reports syracuse.com. New Zealander Blazej Kot’s lawyer plans to argue that the man did indeed kill his wife in June while they hiked near their Ithaca home, but that he suffered from a disease that causes the sufferer to believe his loved ones have been replaced by doubles. Reports the site on Kot’s time at Cornell and after:

Typically aloof and shy with strangers, Kot blossomed socially at Cornell, where he and Coffey met and fell in love. They were married in Ithaca in October 2008 but saved up for an “exotic location” wedding ceremony in Costa Rica last May.

By then, however, Kot had taken a leave of absence from his doctoral program to work for a business startup. His 60-to-80-hour work weeks and the couple’s mounting financial woes were contributing to an onset of depression, paranoia and other acute symptoms associated with Capgras delusion, a misidentification syndrome common in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, the defense said.

A reminder to our readership to please seek out the help they need if struggling with their health in any way!