Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Baruch Dayan Emet for a Columbia Student

A Columbia student was confirmed to be dead today.

His body was found yesterday in the East River. He had been reported missing for about a week. He had looked up directions to the Brooklyn Bridge on his laptop before he last left his dorm room, so suicide was suspected. He was supposed to graduate today.

I didn't know the student at all, but there is something inherently scary, sad, and tragic about any suicide--but specifically about one that hits so close to home.

The Bwog, a blog hosted by a Columbia undergraduate publication the Blue and White, posted on this and has quite a debate underway in the comments. A debate over whether the university should be held responsible for his death in any way. About how much the university should care about its students, should reach out to its students.

I have plenty to say about all of the debate and about what I think the university should and should not do. But I think it's soon to have this conversation. His body was just found and emotions are running high and now is the time to remember his life and what was lost. I think this will necessarily spur campus debate and I think it should, but maybe it's a little too soon to discuss.

Right now I would just like to take a step back and say what I couldn't say to the non-Jewish friend who conclusively confirmed all this for me earlier today:

Baruch dayan emet.


At 5/18/06, 2:35 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Why exactly should the school be held responsable in any way?

At 5/18/06, 2:42 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Not legally responsible.

Responsible as in Columbia should do more in terms of psychological counseling, suicide-prevention and awareness programs. In terms of how much the school should be aware of students' mental health and how much they should do about it.

Colleges are not real life. There is a sense that the university is in loco parentis and is responsible for students. So, the question sort of is should the university have been more aware? Should they have done something? Could they have done something?


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