SEAS Student Passed Away

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Tragic news tonight: according to an email from Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger, “a first year SEAS student passed away earlier today in Hartley Hall.”

“Efforts are underway to contact the family, as well as offer support and condolences.  I am sure you understand that we are not releasing the name of the student or more information until the family has been officially notified…Please contact the RA on-call in your building if you need additional support this evening.  There are on-call staff available tonight, and throughout the weekend, from both Residential Programs and Counseling and Psychological Services. ”

Bwog will bring updates on the situation as they come in, but, most importantly, our thoughts — as we’re sure many of yours are too — are with the student’s family.  Full email after the jump.

UPDATE (11:23 AM): Bwog can now confirm that the death was a suicide. Dean Shollenberger told Bwog, “We are working to support the family now.  I will have something to release publicly hopefully in the next hour.”

UPDATE (1:45 PM): In light of a number of comments made in the thread, we’ve had to suspend commenting until further notice.

Dear Students,

It is with much regret and sadness that I share with you that a first year SEAS student passed away earlier today in Hartley Hall. Efforts are underway to contact the family, as well as offer support and condolences.  I am sure you understand that we are not releasing the name of the student or more information until the family has been officially notified.

Members of Residential Programs have been available to suite members and friends to provide support.  Please contact the RA on-call in your building if you need additional support this evening.  There are on-call staff available tonight, and throughout the weekend, from both Residential Programs and Counseling and Psychological Services.  Tomorrow, members of the Counseling and Psychological Services staff will be available from 2 pm to 6 pm in Alfred Lerner Hall 8th floor, 212-854-2878

I will be in contact with you shortly with additional information and join you in the sadness we all feel at the loss of a precious member of the community.


Kevin G. Shollenberger

Dean of Student Affairs

Columbia College/Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Student Life

Arts and Sciences

Columbia University

Alfred Lerner Hall, Room 405

2920 Broadway, MC 2607

New York, NY 10027


212-854-2906 (fax)

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  1. yikes  

    the post title is sort of insensitive don't you think?

  2. notbwog  

    You insensitive motherfucking cockbags.

  3. so sad

    I feel so sorry for the family. Right now they are hearing the worst news of their lives. Rest in peace.

  4. hmm

    does anyone know how he died?

  5. Apparently  

    the RAs of the LLC and the administration were all informed well before the family. Ridiculous.

    • whoa

      that's really absurd, if true.

      also, I don't believe we know if it's a him or her yet. Yes, it's SEAS, so odds are it's a him but lets not jump to any conclusions just yet.

    • FuckBwog  

      How is that ridiculous? Obviously if there was something going on the RAs would need to know about it because they can't say, "My God, I have no earthly idea what you're talking about" if one of their residents asks.

      Just because you weren't kept in the loop doesn't mean it's ridiculous.

      • ????

        I don't think #9 was upset that they were not kept in the loop. They found it strange that the family of the student was the last to hear.

        Additionally, please do not start throwing around the idea of suicide. If people start thinking that is the case we will have a ton of flame posts about how suicide is cowardly etc etc when no such thing has been confirmed. It's rare but people our age can die of health-related things. Seriously, can we tone down the speculation?

  6. conclusions

    i thought i saw 'he' somewhere as well but i guess it was just bias. this must've been a suicide right?

  7. Cancellation  

    The Dance Marathon going on at Lerner really has to canceled right now. Somebody must make an announcement.

    The campus mourns and students are unknowingly dancing the night away unaware of what has happened.

    At least, that is my presumption.

    Is there a way to tell President Bollinger?

    • To #15  

      Not to belittle the death of this SEAS kid, but I think it's ridiculous to cancel the the Dance Marathon b/c of this. People die every day. According to your line of logic, the world should just stop functioning because people die.

  8. Ridiculous  

    It would also be ridiculous for the police and first responders/paramedics to know before the parents because you know...they're only addressing the unfortunate situation

  9. suicide?  

    just wondering

  10. yes  

    it was. multiple sources including ra said so

  11. you assholes  

    the reason the parents haven't known is because security couldn't get in contact with the parents during the day.

  12. man...

    that is truly terrible.

  13. SOMEBODY  

    please find a way to end the Dance Marathon tonight.

    • Well I think  

      it's insensitive of you to say it's insensitive not to stop the dance marathon. It would be a shame to stop a function in the process of -saving- lives in order to -mourn- the death of a single person.

  14. To the family  

    My condolences

  15. Rest in Peace...  

    "Though they go mad they shall be sane // Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again // Though lovers be lost love shall not // And death shall have no dominion."

  16. Commentariat

    has a source that says it is a suicide.

  17. condolences  

    My condolences. My heart goes out to all family and friends.

    Will we ever know who the student is?

  18. outraged  

    where was the RA? he or she needs to be sacked!

  19. outraged @ outraged  

    ok... I've never met my RA since the start of school in september ... and although I haven't had any great RAs in all four years here at Columbia, all of us have busy lives, I don't think the RA deserves to be sacked if he/she wasn't displaying obvious signs of depression and suicidal tendencies. Other than physically manhandling the guy, there really is very little an RA can do. My RA can't even keep her suitemates's noise level down after hours.

  20. uhh  

    they just deleted the post.

    • Commentariat  

      We took down the post until the family is notified. The post was not approved by either of the editors or opinion staff.

      We mourn the death of our fellow student and will likely be releasing a statement tomorrow.

  21. anon.  

    It's not his/her fault. How would you feel in that situation?

  22. I don't think  

    we can really blame the RA. The RAs go through training to identify signs for this kind of thing, but it's not like they can pry into your life without you letting them. Sure, he/she could ask how the student is doing, but if the student doesn't say anything, that's that.

  23. Nightline  

    If people want to talk to someone anonymously, Nightline is open right now until 3am. On a campus phone, 4-7777, or 1-212-854-7777.

  24. seriously  

    the dance marathon should not be cancelled. its not as if the dance marathon is a happy/ a celebration. If it was a prty id understand. a tragedy has struck our campus and while many of us are out getting drunk, those people at the dance marathon are staying on their feet for the families whose lives have been torn apart by pediatric AIDS. Keep dancing, guys! Our campus is strong enough to support both those affected by this unfortunate death and those people who are dancing for a cause.

  25. Well,  

    the dancing itself is saving no lives. Furthermore, I am sure events can get postponed. I think it is tasteless to have such a huge celebratory function when a tragedy like this occurred to someone so close to us.

    Columbia is supposed to be like a family. Having this act is not behaving like family. They should be notified.

    P.S. You do not even know if the person's best friend is over at the marathon. I'm sure he or she would like to know what's going on.

  26. well  

    i personally don't think they should cancel dance marathon, but i understand why people do want to. the drunk people all over frat row, however (probably freshmen), are making me feel sick.

  27. family?

    Columbia is supposed to be like a family? What school have you been going to? I love Columbia, but warm and fuzzy it is not.

  28. yeah, family?  

    Columbia is an institution. An institution is not a family. Dance Marathon is a legitimate fundraiser and should be allowed to go on. Since the student passed away earlier today, I am sure his friends have been notified and are not at Dance Marathon.

  29. this is such a tragedy...  

    my prayers go out to the family.

  30. fuck  

    bwog, stop deleting our comments! we have the right to our opinions

  31. rip  

    is the spec site down?

  32. I assume so

    the spec site isn't working for me, either.

  33. well  

    i think the post was deleted because the information on the death was (probably) inaccurate

  34. the  

    spec site is always down.

  35. Not to be insensitive...  

    but death is a personal thing, and I'm a bit thrown off by how the Columbia community as a whole has responded to this. While friends of the student and his or her family can and should reach out to offer consolation, it is not proper for the entire student body to need to know of this or to be expected to react in a meaningful manner to this death. Strangers apologizing to the student's family and friends do no good; their consideration would have been much more useful earlier. As is, mourning for someone you never knew existed before his or her passing strikes me as, if not hypocritical and theatrical, almost impossible. Though this event may put me in a more somber mood, I cannot honestly say that I have been affected by it, nor, I think, can the majority of Columbia students. To offer prayer for the student and his family and sympathy (a word with greek origins: suffering with) to anyone you know who has been affected is one thing, but to wear black and expect every member of the campus to stop their own lives in remembrance of someone they do not remember in the first thing is another.
    In response to the person who claimed that the RA should be fired, I accuse you of passing a heartless and cruel judgment that you are in no position to give. You do not know the RA, and you do not know what relationship he or she had with the student. Secondly, you cannot possibly know how horrible the RA feels. Put yourself in his or her shoes and imagine having a resident die. The RA is certainly not feeling warm and fuzzy as is; to fire him/her would be to say "you could and should have done somethign about this, but you didn't. This is your fault." Now imagine how you would feel were you blamed for this. Nice of you to suggest it. Perhaps you should be in charge of Res life.
    As for those who call for the cancellation of the dance marathon, I think perhaps they should think about a few things. Firstoff, while the dance marathon may sound fun, that isn't the point. Dancing for 28 hours is not a recreational activity, it is hard work. Try it if you think it isn't. More importantly though, if death can have any positive effect on a community, it is that it forces us to reevaluate how we can best affirm life. If dancing to raise funds for a worthwhile cause is not such an activity, then I don't know what is. Just my two cents.

  36. poor guy

    Prayers for the family.

  37. RIP  

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

    And may perpetual light shine upon him.

    May he rest in peace.


  38. you fuckers  

    life goes on; people die all the time; do you think the Grad students on this campus give a shit about an undergrad? As much as we give a shit about homeless people dying.

  39. anonymous  

    maybe you don't give a shit about him, but there are many people who do. so please keep your rude comments to yourself so as not to offend people who do care about what has happened.

  40. anon  


    okay. so what happens now? Room gets sealed up. Then people come and take the person's stuff away. Hire some crime scene cleaner company. Have the room number be placed in housing lore forevermore. All this while the floor watches.

  41. Jesus Christ...  

    why do you have to ruin everything with religion?

  42. Jon  

    Identifying information may not be posted.

  43. NY Post  

    can you imagine their headlines?

    Columbia Drives Student To Death
    Columbia Suicide Bullied By Liberals
    Columbia-NYU Rivalry Renewed

  44. historicalperspective  

    COLUMBIA GIRL DIES IN LEAP UNDER TRAIN; Miss Dorothy Wilson Covers Her Eyes, Jumps Off Platform at 125th St. Railway Station. WORE ENGAGEMENT RING Letter to Girl Friend Told of Trip to Washington, but Aunt Knew Nothing of Her Plans.

  45. chances  

    this turns out to be a homicide?

  46. Anonymous

    This is a tragic situation. Of course the RAs and such know first-they're right on the scene. Bwog, kudos for deleting all posts for trying to identify the decesased-it is completely inappropriate for the Internet to know before the family and friends. Let us not speculate and wait for the details. May the memory of the student be for a blessing and may his family and friends be comforted.

  47. why  

    does anyone know why s/he did it?

  48. wow  

    i'm shaken. and i didn't even know him.

  49. BWOG  

    Why on earth would you NOT DISABLE comments on this post?? It would be about ten times more efficient than policing this article all night for identifying posts. Agreed, something like this must be reported, but it is not something on which anyone's opinion should get a platform on this website. You are a gossip blog, Bwog. And we can read our own email. Get with the program.

  50. why  

    why does everything at columbia have to be an argument? a student died. his family and friends are in horrendous pain. let's just be respectful and wait.

  51. update  

    The family was informed earlier this morning according to a gs email that was sent out.

  52. Wow..  

    This is disgusting. Are you people that unbelievably selfish? "I didn't know this guy, therefore I'm not in tremendous emotional pain, therefore this death is irrelevant." You understand that's what you sound like, right?

    If you didn't know him, then be grateful that you're not dealing with the pain that everyone else is, but DO NOT mock the school for recognizing this huge event and making a big deal about it.

    People do die all the time, but our Columbia classmates and peers do not, and perhaps Columbia isn't acting as a family now, but it needs to be. Band together. Support those who knew and loved him. Offer up prayers or good thoughts for him and his family, and for all those grieving.

    Have some respect.

    God bless.

  53. c'mon!  

    Can you guys at least TRY to be respectful? Or just keep your posts to yourself.

  54. maybe

    well they had to have plagiarized it from somewhere if that's what they did, in which case its still true; how could he have passed away in his room with access to a phone, and plenty of people around, i think it was self-inflicted

  55. ridiculous

    nobody WANTS to die.
    even those who want to commit suicide do not WANT to die. they want an escape for their pain, and they see death as their only option. that is not the same as wanting to die.

    • maybe

      Ok well obviously death was not his primary objective in life, it is very sad but at some point he preferred death over life. Such a preference is to want death at least somewhat. Speculating about escaping pain is irrelevant. As much as I'd like to speculate about what his motives might be we can't know. Maybe it was something going on at home, or between individuals here. Maybe school was too much pressure. Whatever the reason, he couldn't find enough happiness to prefer life here. Its really tragic to come to that point, I can't imagine how it must have felt knowing you would never see any of the people you know again. so of course , it would be RIDICULOUS to assume he wanted death and nothing else. through what we would probably see as irrational logic, he disregarded his instinct for self-preservation, and executed his will

  56. let's be respectful  


    His family and friends must be in tremendous pain right now.

    If you're feeling suicidal, do NOT act on those feelings. They will go away and things will get better. Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem. There is ALWAYS hope.

  57. Rest in Peace  

    Poor guy, hope his family gets through it ok

  58. Sleater  

    I spend the afternoon in cars
    I sit in traffic jams for hours

  59. kinney  

    don't push me, i am not ok

  60. saddened  

    My utmost condolences-- rest in peace.

  61. why?  

    no sports and no pussy make columbia man go CRAZY!

    suicide is such a cop out...i'm not even sure the term RIP even applies here, according to many religions.

  62. Kromm  

    Will use this incident to further her goals of a fun-free campus.
    Just like Hitler.

  63. BWOG  

    at least until the name is released

  64. Really, Columbia?  

    These comments are disgusting. Is it so hard to break out of your selfish, self-centered, self-loathing existence and have pity on the poor guy and his family and friends? Spare the snark and tasteless jokes for once. How would you like it if this happened to someone you knew?

    Whatever your thoughts on suicide are, they don't change the fact that his family and friends are now in agony. At the very least, show them some respect.

  65. Anonymous  

    Please delete 114 and 126! They're giving out subliminal messages!

  66. "There  

    are few things more precious on any university campus than freedom of thought and expression, ... That is the teaching of the First Amendment, and I believe it should be the principle we live by at Columbia University.” THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.

  67. Anonymous  

    once again with 131.

    Really, can you at least respect the requirements of the University? I thought Columbia kids could follow directions.

  68. maybe gateway  

    drove him insane.
    that would be justifiable.

    • anon  

      as someone who knew him, i find that extremely insensitive and not funny. please shut this down.

      • anon  

        I agree. Although I didn't know him, I am still shaken. I thought Columbia students were decent enough to post on a blog about a topic of this nature without being complete assholes.

    • Track Button  

      Hey 138,
      All that trolling suggests to me that you are in a great deal of emotional pain. I suggest you stop your fucking insensitive remarks and seek counseling. Either show some respect by biting your tongue or go to 4chan for a month until you get the douchebaggery out of your system.

  69. Seriously  

    Bwog, shut this comment thread down. It's doing nothing more at this point than feeding speculation, while stomping on human decency.

  70. Anonymous  

    SEAS just got the email with the information.

    I'm really saddened by how some of us have reacted to all of this. As a person who knew him and was shaken by all this, the coldness of others is difficult to comprehend.

  71. ...  

    This string of comments makes me question why I even want to be a part of the Columbia community. Thanks so much for the compassion.

  72. ryé  

    As for the volume of the comments, I would say this about that:

    I think that many of us, at such a competitive institution, are exceptionally concerned about our strength and mortality. We desire to be as competent intellectually as possible, yet I believe that leaves us less time to be happy and enjoy the simpler things in life. Moreover, I believe there is a cruel, ironic code at Columbia and many other schools that seems to admire misery. To me, then, these snarky comments distance ourselves from tragedies such as a student's suicide because many of us fear such dark things -- misery -- as lasting quite long for ourselves.

    I don't know what the solution for this is, then. It is very easy to blame Columbia, but I believe the inspired way would be to place blame on ourselves for devoting ourselves to being so cynical. In the long run, it has a great external cost and more simply, it just limits us from having fun.

    Now I don't know the way out of misery and cynicism, but something that comes to mind is that so many of us are concerned with ourselves and our own happiness. What about doing things for others and trying to empathize with people? I look at many of the happy people I know, and that's something they seem to have in common: they can empathize, they care. They do things like help old people and volunteer at schools. If we all practiced empathy by helping others instead of practicing cynicism -- be it in the City or at Columbia -- I think we all could learn to appreciate one another instead of cutting one another down.

    I hope the essence of my words is at least clear to a few...

    • re: rye  

      Very insightful. Know that there are groups on this campus that do invite a spirit of altruism and love for one another and thus create a relaxed atmosphere where you can just escape the cynicism and enjoy yourself.

      Know that I'm praying for you as you struggle though. God bless.

    • Anonymous

      Rye-totally on the mark. Thanks for having some sense here.

      May Eric Harms rest in peace, may his family & friends be comforted in this terrible time, and may all those who post disgusting comments on this page keep their insiduous nonsense to themselves and have some measure of human decency. Grad or undergrad student, he was a human being and should be mourned as such.

  73. jdr  

    I don't know if I'll be reading the Blue and White much anymore after this incident

  74. its  

    eric harms, seas'12

  75. y'all  

    make me sick. Where's your humanity gone?

  76. disgusted  

    reading the comments on this has made me disgusted by the majority of students who go to columbia. i understand if you did not know the kid and don't care about him, but in that case why is it necessary to comment rude and hurtful things about it? there are people who care. just because you have the freedom of speech to say whatever you want, doesn't mean you should be an asshole. respect the fact that there are so many people hurting from this tragedy, and have some decency.

  77. this is terribly sad...  

    ...that the marching band killed him

    check his facebook status

  78. grad student animosity?  

    to poster #60, #87, and #106:
    i don't understand this undercurrent of resentment from grads toward undergrads. what's the difference? either way, a promising young life is gone.

    in fact, do any of you guys remember when Minghui Yu, a grad student in computer science at Columbia, was killed last year in April? As a community, Columbia held vigils and a funeral for him. My (undergrad) friends and I, who didn't know him at all, all attended his memorial ceremony on Low Steps, and some of my friends and even my family donated to the fund in his name at Columbia. Considering the emotional response from everyone I saw in the crowd, I don't think we were the only ones touched.

    I can't remember so much conflict over Minghui's death. Why is this one different? You can call suicide selfish and ungrateful, but even if there's no sympathy for the boy, have some sympathy for the parents.

    For the people who are crying free speech: I don't think that Bwog should disable comments, but at the same time, what's the point of all this rudeness? Not only does it not benefit any of us, but it really disgusts who are affected by the tragedy. What if his family sees this thread?

    Sorry for the long post, but c'mon, let's just have some respect.

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