ESC Statements on Harms’ Passing

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This morning, ESC President Peter Valerias issued a statement to the SEAS community in response to the death of SEAS freshman Eric Harms on Saturday. Valerias wrote that Harms was “involved in so many aspects of campus life and always willing to help others out when they had a task to complete.  He was a First-Year Representative on the Engineering Student Council, dedicated to his position and finding new ways to be involved on campus from serving on a multitude of the ESC committees to being an avid participant in the performing arts around campus…I will always remember his desire to take on more initiatives and his asking me for additional projects that he could participate in.”

Last night, the ESC 2012 class council also sent out a statement, saying, “As a council, we all came to know Eric as an outstanding member – unprecedented in his creativity and desire to instill change and inspire. As a family, we all came to know Eric as a remarkable person and friend and all came to love his presence, his attitude, and his outlook. More so he warmed our hearts with his smile and laughter.”

The full emails can be found after the jump. Students and administrators will be using today to discuss events, with a planning meeting at 8 p.m. in the Low Library Visitor’s Center. Valeiras also invited all concerned SEAS students to the ESC meeting at 9:45 p.m. in the Satow Room.

Finally, as of this post, we will be reopening the comment threads on this topic, in the hopes of keeping them open as a place for those who do wish to discuss the situation with their fellow students. We will keep the comments open for as long as possible. Comment policy will remain unchanged; explicit trolling will be deleted.

Statement from ESC President Peter Valeiras

Dear SEAS Community,

As many of you have heard a fellow engineer, Eric Harms, passed away this weekend.  Many of you know how remarkable of a person Eric was, involved in so many aspects of campus life and always willing to help others out when they had a task to complete.  He was a First-Year Representative on the Engineering Student Council, dedicated to his position and finding new ways to be involved on campus from serving on a multitude of the ESC committees to being an avid participant in the performing arts around campus.  He showed up to every meeting eager to participate and willing to take on tasks that were not his responsibility.  I will always remember his desire to take on more initiatives and his asking me for additional projects that he could participate in.

I want to reach out to every member of our community and invite you to our Engineering Student Council meeting tonight at 9:45pm in the Satow Room of Lerner.  This will be a time for you to talk and express your feelings, as well as meet a few administrators who are available for support.  Eric’s family welcomes your thoughts and the ESC is working with Student Affairs to have students express these feelings and pass them onto the family.  An additional email will be sent out to inform you on how to be involved with remembering Eric.

I also want to echo what Dean Shollenberger said and encourage you to seek out support from each other and University offices during this difficult time. The Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), your Advising Dean, the Office of the University Chaplain and the Office of Residential Programs continue to be available to you for support and counseling.  All of these offices are available for you and want to make sure that each and every student on campus has the support they need.  I urge you to seek out their services if you need them.  Additionally, you can also contact the ESC at [email protected] and we will help you as well.

Finally, I want to pass on the Engineering Student Council’s deepest condolences to Eric’s family and friends.  We know how special he was to our community and will always remember all that he did for everyone around him.

 Statement from ESC 2012 Council

The Engineering Student Council of the Class of 2012 would like to extend its deepest condolences to Eric’s family and close friends.

As his classmates, each and every one of us had the privilege of meeting Eric at some point over the course of the past semester – moments we know we will never forget. As a council, we all came to know Eric as an outstanding member – unprecedented in his creativity and desire to instill change and inspire. As a family, we all came to know Eric as a remarkable person and friend and all came to love his

presence, his attitude, and his outlook. More so he warmed our hearts with his smile and laughter.

No one will ever make an afro joke quite like Eric. No one will ever set off a dance party at an ESC 2012 meeting to the beats of Bon Jovi quite like Eric. No one will ever make a room light up with laughter quite like Eric. The pain we feel, as his friends, is inexplicable but we will continue to live on his memory anywhere and everywhere we go, in anything and everything we do. ESC 2012 will always miss, remember, and love Eric Harms. Our lives are truly better because of him and we thank him with our warmest hearts.



  1. troll

    troll troll trolling troll trolling trollidy troll troll troll....all of which is explicit

  2. why  

    do I really not care that much? Yes, a person died. But I don't know him. Should I care just because of the Columbia affiliation? Should I care about a dead Californian?

    • i care  

      because of the columbia affiliation ... and maybe more particularly because unlike any other deaths (like some person you don't know from your home state) - his is just so incredibly untimely. I care more about his death than I would about that of a Columbia professor I that I don't know because it's not that difficult to relate to the pain of somebody who's just a few years younger than me & was probably in a great deal of pain. I think you should care because it reminds you of your mortality & vulnerability ... my deepest condolences go out to his friends and family - he sounds like a wonderful kid

    • well  

      california is a little bit bigger than columbia

    • SEAS '09  

      I think community-wide expressions of grief and sympathy exist for a few reasons. To comfort those actually affected, a group whom I think is often a small minority; to give pause and acknowledgment toward one's own mortality (given especial resonance in part from the shared sobriquet of "Columbia student"); or, in fostering the sense of communal dignity one would expect or desire upon news of their own death (or the death of a loved one).

      I think I've exhaustively enumerated the reasons that occur to me. But I agree in part with your sentiment. It can be odd to be expected to bow your head and murmur cliches when something like this happens.

      • ---  

        There's a difference between murmuring cliches and simply refraining from callousness on a special-interest portion of the interwebs that you know Eric's friends and acquaintances are reading. No one is asking you to weep at a stranger's memorial, #2. But a thread dedicated to good memories of the deceased is pretty obviously not the place to say you don’t care.

        My deepest sympathies to those who are grieving.

    • Also  

      He went through all the same experiences you did while at Columbia.

    • You sound like a real  

      jackass right now, # 2. Have some compassion. One of your fellow classmates just took his own life. He's not just some random Californian. He's a member of our community

    • humm...  

      I would posit as an example that heroin usage is a physical possibility in the realm of existence; it's there, it's available, and nothing's stopping you from doing it. But that doesn't make it a good idea. In much the same vein (pardon the pun), just because you're callous towards suffering doesn't mean that you are obliged to shit on anyone else who might have sincere emotions on the subject, even though it's the easiest thing in the world to type out words barrels of stupid.

      my $.02

    • If you don't care...  

      then why do you feel the need to post on the topic? Either you do care and can't find balls to say it, or you're just looking to get attention. Either way, I pity you. If you're truly apathetic, then there's no reason for you to have read and posted on this thread.

      I didn't know Eric, but his death has still affected me profoundly. Just knowing that a member of our community has passed in such a tragic way has gotten me to think a lot more on the subject that I might have previously. My deepest condolences to those of you who know him and to his family.

    • psoucheray

      You should care. We all should care. Because we are responsible for the nature of the culture and world around us. And to some extent, the fact that Eric Harms felt abandoned by the world is all our faults. What is it you can do each moment to be open to addressing another person's need?

  3. explicit trolling  

    so... subtle trolling is still okay?

  4. God Saves

    Did he know Jesus? If he didn't then his soul is lost forever (Hebrews 9:27 NIV)

  5. a friend  

    I can sympathize with people who did not know Eric, and to whom his death means little. That is fine, you do not have to have emotions about the situation.

    However, some of us did know him and love him. I think for us you should all have a little tact and refrain from commenting if it means nothing to you. The Columbia community has indeed suffered a loss. I have suffered a loss, and so have so many others.

    I just want to say that he WILL be missed sorely.

  6. a plea  

    your parents love you and so do your friends. please seek help when you are feeling desperate.

  7. ....  

    it's a tragedy. i feel mostly sorry for the family. i can't help by feel upset that he had to resort to suicide, a decision that hurts everyone who loved him. it's not honorabl, it's hurtful and unfair and please, anyone who is feeling suicidal, do whatever you can to seek help and always remember those people who love you, things arent always going to be so bad.

    you are going to make it out of there alive

    you will live to tell your story

    never lose hope

    • i agree

      While his death is a tragedy and a loss to the community, it is first and foremost a cruel act to his family and friends. How, as a family, do you get over this? His act was selfish. While his pain has ended, his family and friends suffering has only begun.

      Please, seek help if you are depressed. Remember that there are people out there who love you. Think of them, too.

      • a classmate  

        You have no right to pass judgement what Eric chose to do. Eric was a magnificent friend and leader, a brilliant kid who always had the best of intentions. There is no way for anyone, particularly a stranger, to know what kind of pain he was in when he made his choice. It is a tragic loss.

  8. true  

    The people around you will not scorn your for being weak or despise your for needing their help, and it's a great tragedy bad he could not seek, or find, the help he needed. I hope his family and close friends will find whatever help they may need to recover from his death.

  9. rip  

    I can't believe some of the insensitivity in these comments. It is devastating when someone takes their own life. My deepest condolences to all who knew him.

  10. Anonymous

    Having gone to High school and middle school with Eric, it sickens me to hear someone try to say that he is a lesser person, or selfish for what he did. When someone is that sad, there are no words that will bring them back, only a miracle. To those of you who sit there and judge him for how he went, I hope your hearts will be opened, what if it was someone in your family. The situation would be no different.
    He was truly an amazing young man, who was the model of the way all of us should live

  11. i agree

    I didn't know Eric, but he seems like a very nice person based on all the accounts I've heard of him.

    As someone who has suffered suicide in my family, I know not to judge him and that's not what I'm doing. I'm describing the effects of his actions on his family and thus labeling his decision as selfish.

    I understand the pain that his friends and family are going through- I've gone through that pain and it's horrible. His death does not make him any less of a person while he was alive, but it was still selfish. That's all I meant.

  12. heartless

    wow, after reading this thread i have to give my neighbors some credit. columbia really is, at least partially, full of stupid rich white kids. get a heart. you don't deserve to be a part of the community, never mind the conversation. in the least, you should admire eric for having what you don't, emotional and moral sensitivity.

    • so confused  

      what about these comments singles out the commenters as "stupid rich white kids". Clearly emotions are running high. Let's not make statements, though, that could not be more baseless.

      • its called empathy

        to clarify, this comment wasn't a direct jab at any particular commenter (#42), but rather the running theme of insensitivity and 'why should i care' in the thread.

        the point, cut short as emotions ran high, was that in my neighborhood i often have defended the columbia community to neighbors that think most students are (i'm quoting here) "stupid rich white kids who only care about themselves, they don't give a shit about anyone else."

        and if someone doesn't care one iota about the life and death of one of their own, then who and what else do they not give a shit about what happens?

        yes, the divide in the neighborhood is seen through a lens of race, which we automatically discredit #30. the point is, an outsider can tell you that people who are privileged and have everything (relatively) often don't care about other people until they have to.

        regardess, if the point was missed, what does the reaction here and on campus say about our community? what kind of community are we? are we the kind of community that doesn't *really* care when one of our own takes their life, unless we knew that person personally??

        to me, this in and of itself screams problems. either there are a lot of people at columbia that are completely detached from being a part of a community, or there are a lot of really heartless bastards here who only care about themselves. the fact that there is an echo of 'why should i care' through this thread is probably the same environment that would lead someone who needs help to deal with it alone. it is a tragedy.

        ... that said, my deepest condolences go out to anyone close to eric. he seemed from what i've read to be such a contributor, giving so much to everyone around him. i apologize for this thread if you were unfortunate enough to read any hurtful parts of it. hopefully this will serve as a message to the administration that efforts need to be made to build a sense of community, as well as the importance of instilling a culture of decency and compassion for fellow man.

  13. how can you say that?

    Does it not occur to you that Eric's entire family and friends, those who are really hurting, will come across this article.. and instead of finding comfort in memories and love, they find callousness? How can you write these things? It might not mean anything to you, but it will mean a lot to his friends and family. Your words will get stuck in their head, cut deeper into the pain they already feel.

    You have no right to judge if Eric was being selfish or not. You obviously know nothing about him, so stop making blanket comments.

    Think about your loved ones. Being in this situation. Would you wanna hear these things?

    Eric was an amazing person. He made a choice, but that changes nothing about the way he lived his life and the people he touched.

  14. ...

    Maybe Shollenberger and the student council leaders should focus less on writing emails and more time on fixing underlying problems that contribute to these problems.

    Columbia Psychological Services suck at this university. Put your money where your email is and try to improve the only source of comfort for people with emotional problems.

  15. a friend

    i knew Eric - he was an amazing guy, loved by everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed.

    Please have some respect in leaving messages on here... this is not a place to gain atention for yourself or to argue.

  16. wow  

    i just really think the people on here with no respect or compassion... how terrible for you. your whole life, you'll never feel bad about anything unless it directly affects you? how can you possibly live with yourself? how can you possibly think that you shouldn't care about hurricane katrina victims, or victims of hiv/aids, or victims of suicidal thoughts, unless you know them personally?

    i pity you. i really do. i didn't know Eric but that doesn't mean I can't feel immense sadness that someone was in as much pain as he must have been in. and the randomness of this- that he was a perfectly normal Columbian like you think you are- affects us all even more.

    to his family and friends, i can't possibly know what you are going through and i hope that i never have to experience it myself. but eric's act was not selfish and we will never know for sure what he was going through to make him resort to this. but eric was still a person, a Columbian, a student. And in him, we should all see a little of ourselves, and try to learn from that.

  17. And so does compassion  

    I don't personally know Jesus, but I think that if I did, he would be a little more understanding that you.

  18. ....

    Yeah.. idk about being a model on how to live. We really shouldn't promote the idea that suicide is a good way out. I feel sooo sooo bad for him and his family :(
    I hope that if someone else is having these kinds of thoughts, they'll learn from him and they'll talk to their friends. I mean everyone who knows Eric is so traumatized by this and they're all wondering why he didn't talk to them, so hopefully people realize that there's always help somewhere.

  19. wait a second  

    Not to be insensitive or callous, but doesn't it occur to anyone that the immense level of sanctification we're offering Eric Harms may encourage others to follow the same path? There's a lot of banter about suicide prevention, but when it comes to action, we don't do such a great job. It seems to me we're giving him exactly what he (probably) wanted: attention, admiration, some reflection on his personality and what he had done with his life. Not that that's inherently wrong at all, but I think that while all this hubbub may be helping only the smallest bit to comfort those who were affected, it's doing a large part in encouraging suicide and suicidal behavior. Hell, to be honest, I'm thinking about killing myself just reading those Spectator cover stories. It's tempting.

    And, conversely, let's assume Eric DIDN'T want all this attention. Maybe he wanted to die a quiet and undecorated death -- in which case, we would only be dishonoring him. In either case, two cover stories in the Spec and barrages of e-mails from administrators seem like an improper course of action.

    • considering

      the details of the nypost story, there was no way it would have *not* received attention.

    • thank you!

      I've been trying to say this in my two previous posts, but I was labeled a "stupid rich white kid", "insensitive" and decided to let it go. I think you're completely right. There's no doubt that he was dear to his friends, but we're making sound it as if suicide really isn't a bad idea. After wards, you're praised and pitied so much so, that people forget the heartache you've caused. Instead, we should state the honest facts- he was a sweet person, but what he did hurt a lot of people and he was only thinking of himself (selfish?).
      This is not to be insensitive! I honestly feel for his friends and family.

    • Dumb Git  

      People who commit suicide do not seek attention--they are dead once it happens and therefore gain little from posthumous celebrity.
      More likely, Eric was a deeply sad person who saw no way out of his misery other than to end his life. It is tragic.

      It is not a plea for attention. It is not an act of selfishness. It is not a method of the cowardly.

      For you to sit here and pass judgment on someone you do not know, whose emotional and mental being were completely foreign to you, is the height of stupidity, futility, and insensitivity.

      Like too many other Columbians, I did not know Eric Harms. I wish I had. Nevertheless, I mourn his loss, both because he was evidently a treasure in himself, and because his death is so much larger than just him. He was just a SEAS freshman; he was anyone and he was everyone.

      This is not to say he was not special. But so many are at risk everyday and are only inches away from that fatal step Eric took. The line that divides Eric from the rest is a thin one indeed.

      The mind of man is a dark and lonely place and far too few attempt to penetrate through the barriers and alleviate the pain and melancholy that looms.

      Eric, I hope you are at finally at peace.

      • what?

        At peace? PEACE? He does not exist anymore. The atoms and electrical impluses that formed his existence are NOT THERE. How can he be at peace if he's not aware of that fact?

      • .....  

        Stupidity, "futility," and insensitivity? I wasn't necessarily passing judgment -- it's you who's passing judgment, by saying that NO ONE who commits suicide seeks attention or is a coward. I admit it was poor phrasing to assume he "probably wanted" anything. What I meant to express was that other people, still with us, who are contemplating suicide, may be seeking attention and may be encouraged by the flood of reaction induced by Harms's death.

    • Hold on

      As someone who was involved the afternoon the incident happened trying to find Eric, I am extremely enraged by you stating that no one used action to prevent this. It is extremely sad what happened to Eric and in no way is this condoning his actions. I myself am extremely frustrated with his decision. However, I have lived around depression my entire life, and I know how deceptive people can be. No one is praising Eric for his choice, they are praising his accomplishments in life, which are vast. For you to sit there and make any commentary on his life or actions as someone who did not know him is not only insensitive, but downright inhumane. For those of us who were lucky enough to know Eric, I think that remembering him in any way possible is the best way to cope with this. So please, let those that need to grieve do so, and do not be so selfish as to make this about anything other than remembrance. Thank you.

  20. Friend of the family

    As a friend of the Harm's family and member of their hometown community I have beared witness to their kindness and generosity. Eric was by far no exception. He was a talent and a blessing to all that knew him. The way in which he left this world should bear no blemish on in his memory. I wish his family and friends my condolences.

  21. SEAS 10  

    People need an outlet for their emotions. Though this is an anonymous blog, anonymity makes it easier to tell your true feelings. To Eric's friends it is also especially important that people see him as a good person, and don't pay heed to the trolls and insensitive responses of others. On that note, anonymity should be used with prudence and a sense of moral dignity, meaning that if you don't have legitimate emotions or opinions to express, then please do not post.

    My piece: I've noticed that those who knew Eric well have neither anger nor blame directed at him. They all describe him as a talented and caring individual, and are perhaps more confused more than anything else. I myself knew him very distantly and had spoken to him maybe once, but he seemed extremely cheerful and outgoing. When I think about the impression that I had about his character, I can't seem to figure out why he went to such an extreme measure. Quite frankly, it's disturbing and fills me unanswerable questions. At the same time, I think that the extent of the tragedy has made myself and many other think more about their own mortality and reasons to live. In the past few days, with the pressure of being an engineer pushing down on me, I can't help but feel more positive than usual simply because this tragedy has made me realize the many good things going on in my life that I would otherwise take for granted. I sincerely wish I had gotten to know Eric better.

  22. CC07

    This is a very sad story - condolences to Eric's friends and family.

    Suicide is a grim,hurtful, and lonely thing. Based on the responses here, I hope that anyone who feels like Eric must have understands that there is always someone "out there" willing and eager to help him.

  23. A Close Classmate

    I went to high school with Eric for one year, and he was the happiest person I knew. He always knew how to make me smile. He was also the greatest actor I ever saw. He really got into character for plays... but I guess that isn't the only way he "acted." He never let on that anything was bothering him. He always put other people before himself.

    I got the chance to visit him at Columbia, and he was so happy to see me! He showed me around and said that everything was great! That was in October. In January, when I last saw him, he was happy... but changed somehow.

    I deeply regret not spending more time trying to get him to tell me what was wrong. I miss him greatly and I always will.

    As a wise bassoon playing pianist once told me,
    "You think you can carry the world on your shoulders, and sometimes maybe you can. But know that there are people here for you when you can't, learn to use and accept that they exist."
    ...I just wish he listened to his own advice...

  24. uh huh  

    Okay, since you just turned this argument ad hominem, I AM going to start getting callous. Though your loss is certainly very grave, there IS a world outside you and your friends, and "remembrance" is not the same thing as "deification." Go ahead and grieve, but adoration of a suicide victim (you see, I am indeed using the word victim) is, in the mind of a suicidal person, very difficult to separate from adoration of suicide itself. This is about more than one case; this is about EVERYONE who feels lost and broken in this pathetic shipwreck of a world.

    By the way, I never stated that "no one used action to prevent this." I'm sure nobody suspected. What I'm saying is that THE REACTION MAY BE IMPROPER. THAT IS ALL I AM SAYING. Not even your PERSONAL reaction, but the collective reaction of the university, the Spectator, the class council, etc. It doesn't mean no one should be allowed to grieve. What it means is that perhaps a modicum of humility and quietude should be demonstrated. As a formerly suicidal person myself, I know for a FACT that this kind of reaction encourages suicidal behavior. You have no idea who I am, so don't you dare tell me how inhumane I am or am not.

    • I'm sorry  

      for you. I hope at some point you will change your opinion about this whole turn of events. For the moment, you should let those who adored Eric while he lived continue to do so still; don't demand that they hate him now.

  25. I think  

    committing suicide could be considered a brave action. He realized how insignificant life is (really, think about it, only people like Franklin Roosevelt could honestly say tthey changed the world) and decided not to continue an exercise of futility. If more people had the courage to do it, there would be less... problems, less misery. Why not think that it was his choice, that he took that decision? Maybe he is happier now. No need to victimize him or call him coward or praise him. A man should have control over his own life at least.

  26. Woody

    I first got to know Eric two years ago in the show Crazy for You. He was a member of the cowboy trio, and he always knew his part (Unlike the other two). I remember that he used to try and get in character, and got upset at those who would break his attempts. This was the first time that I got to see who Eric Harms really was, and it wasn't until the next school year that the two of us actually became somewhat close.
    The start of my Sophmore year in High School marked the start of Eric's Senior year, and he was happy to be a senior. We often, without planning, were the first couple of people in the band room. He was always listening to music on his iPod or his computer, and if he wasn't listening to it, he was playing it. Eric could make up jazz better than anyone I know, and trust me, I know some people. Then the two of us tried out for the show 1940's Radio Hour. The director had originally told me that she was looking at me in the role of Johnny Cantone, the part Eric wanted. This put an awkward sense on our young friendship. We both tried out, and, unfortunately, they made us try out for the same part, having him go first and I second. I remember thinking that night that if I were cast in the role of Cantone, I would not take it, it was Eric's final year with Highschool Productions and he had been in them for as long as anyone could remember. I, luckily, was cast as a different character, B.J. Gibson. In the show, Cantone takes B.J. under his wing, and ends up giving him one of his solos at the end. This was Eric's relationship with myself.
    As a second year student, the Highschool experience was still a little new to me, Eric constantly checked up on me. We often met each other in the early mornings in the bandroom, waiting to share music with eachother. I remember, one of the things that he always was playing was Take Five. He even taught me the first couple chords, something he wouldn't do for anyone else. The show 1940's came and went, and the two of us had a very strong master padawan (if you excuse the starwars reference) relationship. It continued to strengthen throughout the year, and it came to a climax towards the end of the year when the two of us would travel after school to go get a quick Wendy's sandwich before he started play rehearsal, the last one he was ever in at our school, Into the Woods.
    Eric was a generally weird kid, with a huge head, I think it was 25 inches around, he was involved in everything at our school. Most noteable was our campus ministry, yes, we went to a private school. Eric was not only the most religious person I knew, he helped me find my own faith. A task that I thank him for to this day. He was amazingly intelligent, he would have been the highest ranked at our school, but the program is set up poorly for the people that take four years of band (I don't want to explain). To prove my point, people tell me that he didn't take latin tests, because he knew more than the teacher. He was in all the advanced courses he could be in, as well as leading the highschool band at events. He also led a small jazz convo that he taught, as well as one of the major piano players of the jazz band, which is an elite band that meets at seven oclock in the morning. Eric really knew his music!
    Eric and I shared many experiences together, and I'm sorry for rambling on for so long. Some of this blog has makes me want to cry, because some of it is incensitive (not all). I want everybody to get to know a little bit about Eric, from the perspective of somebody that actually knew him. Maybe that will help people understand. Suicide is a terrible thing, those that feel suicidal should get help. Unfortunately, Eric, forwhatever reason, couldn't, or wouldn't. It is a tremendous blow to our high school, our theater program, and I believe the world to know that Eric is no longer with us. I believe that we shouldn't focus on how Eric died, suicide is bad, focus on how Eric lived. He lived for the better of everyone else. He lived, so that stupid sophmores like me might be more comfortable.
    I saw Eric, not more than a month ago, he came back to visit the theater, and all that were present. I remember seeing him, and him coming over to me, picking me up in his arms and giving me the biggest bear hug I'd ever recieved. This is how we should remember Eric, in a loving manner, because Eric, if he would have known you, and you needed it, would always have given you a big hug. I'm going to miss you my friend.

    • A Mom

      Thank you so much to the #49 and #53 postings above. Those were heartfelt sharings from classmates who were good friends of Eric, just the kinds of postings that I came on here hoping to find. I never personally knew Eric, but I have a son at the same high school and I admired Eric "from afar" at band concerts and football games where he was obviously both a leader and a gifted musician. I often saw his name associated with one academic honor after another and knew that he was a talented individual with HUGE potential!

      As a mom, I cannot imagine the horrible and almost unbearable pain that Eric's parents must be experiencing right now. I want to commend them on raising such a fine and talented young man who obviously inspired and touched so many others.

      I think we all are struggling to make some bit of sense out of this, trying to understand how such a great kid with so much going for him could feel so desperate as to take his own life. To other parents reading this: it makes us fear for our own kids, doesn't it? Please, teens and young adults, talk to us or other trusted adults when you are feeling so troubled or overwhelmed. If you don't have an adult you feel you can talk to, try and talk to one of your peers who you think would want to help you. I know it might feel like you are taking a big risk of rejection (what if they don't care?), but please give them a chance to show that they DO care about you. Please give them, give us, a chance to help you through your pain or problems. Please.

  27. prayers for Eric  

    I feel so extremely empty inside and so upset at this news... this is absolutely terrible. I wish so badly that he had sought help; he was much too young to go and had so much potential.

  28. nic

    I knew eric in high school. he was one class above me. he was a really great guy.

    stop disrespecting him you morons. we don't know what he was thinking, we don't know how he was feeling. as a survivor of an attempted suicide.. I can tell you right now, I don't know what the hell compelled me to do what I did. it sure wasn't for attention. so stop suggesting that it was for eric.

    this is a blog for people to remember eric, and to share memories. if you spend your life searching google for random blogs to post on, and you don( really care about eric, then gtfo.

    have some respect for eric, his family, and his friends.

  29. well  

    columbia is a depressing place. In my four years here, two students have committed suicide. here are some other interesting stories. Apparently a student was murdered in ruggles and another year three students attempted suicide in three weeks. School is too hard on students, and they should offer better pyschological services. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2000/02/13/2000-02-13_blood_on_the_ivy__tragic_rom.html

  30. i for one  

    applaud Eric. He lived life on his own terms. When he finally realized that we all are living in a cosmic accident, he took matters into his own hands, just like the WTC jumpers.

  31. What?

    How can you presume to know what Eric "finally realized," (#62), or whether #60 cares about a student in Nebraska who committed suicide? (#63) You both posted from the Columbia campus. Do they not train students on how to think logically and not jump to conclusions? None of us can presume to know what anyone else's motives or intentions are. Let's stop judging one another.

  32. Anonymous

    As a parent of a Columbia student who briefly met Eric, I am utterly, disparingly sad at this news.

    Suicide is the death of hope in an individual. And the thought of a loved one coming to that conclusion, well, frankly, scares the hell out of me.

    And it should.

    Please realize that your thoughts, prayers, chants, concerns, actions etc., should be at first directed to the loved ones Eric left behind. They are going through hell, and will need your support because there are no good answers or reasons for this entire matter. Repeat- No Good Reasons.

    After doing your level best to help Eric's loved ones, concentrate on trying to prevent this tragedy from happening again. This is a much more difficult task. As others on this board have implored, if you are considering Eric's actions to be a solution, please talk to someone!

    As an older person, this is not the first time I have dealt with the issue of suicide. The pain for everyone concerned over this will morph to anger, denial, forgiveness, apathy and fear. And not necessarily in that order.

    And finally, ignore the obvious jackasses in this forum. A free society and internet anonymity can breed some foul offspring. Concentrate on the many loving and caring missives about Eric's talents. And once again, be sure to help the survivors of this event. It is too late to help the dead.

    • please seek help  

      That was an excellent post. I want to say again to people who are thinking of drastic measures to please, please seek help. Pain is not final, but suicide unfortunately is. You may not think that things will get better at the moment, but anger and sadness cloud judgment. Time has an inexplicable way of healing things; have faith in time.

  33. A Dad

    First of all, I send my deepest sympathies for Eric's parents. Our thoughts are with you, and know that you are in the prayers of thousands this week. I can only imagine the deep grief that you are feeling. I will continue to pray for comfort and healing.
    What a blessing Eric was to all who knew him! I did not know him well, but I knew that he carried the love of Jesus with him. He glowed, and his light was far reaching. Eric will not be forgotten. I will carry memories and treasured thoughts thru ought my life and think of them always. What a blessing it was to know Eric.
    I have read through all of the previous blog entries, and it appears that many are seeking answers. I pray that God will use Eric's life to draw you closer to himself. God loved Eric. God loves you so much, that he sent his son for you! God is seeking you. He is pusueing you. If you are looking for answers, here is a website that may be helpful: www.lifesbigquestions.com.
    Eric is giving God a big bear hug right now. I will take comfort in the fact that I will see Eric one day in a place where there is no pain and only tears of joy!!!

  34. Perhaps

    for the benefit of those who did not know Eric well or at all, they should view this video link:


    ...in the hope that they might have greater appreciation and slightly better understanding of the community's tragic loss.

  35. An old friend

    I wanted to thank a lot of the people who have posted here for their kind words. I knew eric for over seven years. He was my friend, my comrade, and my protector. He shielded me from anything that could hurt me and he was the most understanding kind person I ever knew. He did theater with me through 20 some shows and I was continually impressed by his brilliance. When he went away to school this fall i was quite distraught, but it is nice to know that those who go to Columbia loved him too. This is a tragedy and we cannot blame anyone, least of all eric. Let us simply celebrate the life of this wonderful guy, who constantly made everyone smile. Rest in Peace Eric Harms...

  36. curious

    So was there any word on why he did it? I mean obviously people will say he was depressed or disturbed or such but any word on what was the 'last straw'?

  37. Anonymous

    i realize that this is coming about 3 months late... but i just read this comment (and a few similar comments) and i just needed to say something. i'm one of eric's sisters, and seriously, do you really think all this attention is just for eric's benefit? there is a reason that 3 months later his sister is still looking him up on the internet and reading what people are saying about him. there is a reason his dad joined facebook for the sole purpose of seeing what people are still writing about him. the attention he got throughout this whole thing showed how much people cared about him to his family. out of everyone, we were probably the people most benefitted by all the news stories and the vast amount of wall posts and the hundreds of people that showed up at his funeral. ive heard stories of people whose family members committed suicide, and how painful it was for them when the people around them ignored it as to not "glorify suicide". seriously, all the attention has been comforting to our family. i dont blame people for calling eric selfish. i sometimes think the same thing. i think it was very selfish to put his family through the intense pain that we have been feeling these past few months. i wouldnt wish it on anyone. however, i still love him, and it is helpful to me to hear that others did too. dont get all high and mighty and judge others for honoring eric. thats not helpful and just spits in the face of those who cared about him the most.

  38. Anonymous

    Although this page has not been commented on in some time, I feel it is appropriate to defend my friend and fellow Cadet. Eric was a Middle-school and High-school friend of mine at Saint Thomas Academy, and he taught me so many valuable life lessons to carry on. To all of you who wrote caring comments, thank you for your sympathy and kind thoughts, but for all of you who openly ask, "Should I care, or I didn't know him, why does it matter?... this goes out to you. For all of you who feel it is acceptable to display those kinds of words, think again. Although you may not have known Eric, his family and close friends are reading everything on this page. For you to comment in such an immature way is something I am strongly against, and I'm sure others feel the same way I do. No one is telling you to care, but at least have the decency in you to keep it to yourself. Imagine how you would feel if someone wrote those things about someone close to you. It wouldn't feel good at all. Eric was a kind and gentle soul who had compassion for absolutely everyone, no matter who they were, so we should all do the same, because it is truly the right thing to do. Eric taught me that we should accept everyone for who they are, because that's just the way it is. Each person has their own way of living, speaking, and doing certain things. He explained that we are just as different to other people, as they are to us, so we need to let go of prejudice and descrimination and just accept people, no matter what. So to all of you who get a rise out of posting rude comments, try to think before you say things and also keep in mind who your audience is.
    To Eric... Throughout our years together at STA, I learned so much from you, and I thank you for all you have taught me. I want you to know that we all love you, and we will all carry on the things you taught us. Take care of yourself up there Cadet, and know that we salute you.
    Sincerely, Your friend and fellow Cadet,

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