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Student Passes Away After John Jay Fall (Update)

Update, 5:20 am: Dean Shollenberger has sent an email to all students confirming that Martha Corey-Ochoa, CC ’16, passed away last night. Our thoughts are with her friends and family.

Update, 2:45 am: Dean Shollenberger has confirmed to Bwog that the student has passed away, minutes after an email with the same information was sent to the student body. The Dean’s full email is below. Dean Shollenberger clarified that the student fell from the fourteenth floor of John Jay, not the sixth, as previously reported.

The NYPD tells Bwog that “the investigation is still ongoing, but at this point, it looks like an apparent suicide.”

Dean Shollenberger said that Columbia will move forward with planned NSOP activities, but that the events scheduled for tomorrow morning have yet to be confirmed. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Counseling services will be available to students until 3:30 am tonight in Furnald, Carman, Wallach, and John Jay, and these services will resume tomorrow morning at 9 am, in the CPS offices. All counseling hours will be structured as walk-in tomorrow.

Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this tragedy, and we ask that commenters use the space respectfully. We urge students to reach out and take advantage of the many counseling resources available, and to never underestimate the strength and kindness of those around you.

Update, 1:14 am: Tipster Alexandra P has informed us that students were let back into Hartley on the condition that they wouldn’t leave, and are now apparently locked-in until the morning.

Update, 12:36 am: Residents of John Jay are now being let back into the building.

Update, 12:32 am: Public Safety has told our reporter at the scene that they hope to let students back into the buildings in 10 to 15 minutes.

Around 11 pm tonight, an unidentified female fell from John Jay, according to eyewitnesses at the scene.

The victim landed on 114th Street. Bwog reporters at the scene spoke with eyewitnesses who by their account called 911 at 11:01 pm. These eyewitnesses have since been identified as Ryan Rodrigues, CC ’16, and Corey Hammond, CC ’16. Shortly afterward, the NYPD arrived. The first witnesses on the scene told Bwog reporters that paramedics appeared to be performing CPR, before the victim was transported to St. Luke’s in an ambulance. According to a Public Safety officer at the scene, the fall likely took place from the sixth fourteenth floor. Authorities could not yet confirm whether the victim is a student.

Bwog’s reporter at the scene says that Public Safety is not allowing any one to enter or exit John Jay, Hartley, or Wallach.

The scene at 114th Street

Dear students,
It is with deep regret that I write to inform you of a death earlier this evening of one of our students.  We are not releasing the name or any additional information at this time as the police investigation is still in progress and we are in the process of contacting the family.

Whenever there is a death such as this, we are all struck by a wide range of emotions and a deep sense of loss. Especially during this difficult time, please rely on one another, your family, and University offices for support.

I encourage you to seek guidance from professional staff by visiting or calling Counseling and Psychological Services (854-2878).  From 1:30 a.m. until 3:00 a.m., members of CPS and Residential Programs staff are available in the lounges of John Jay, Carman and Wallach.  Services will be available at CPS on the 8th floor of Lerner Hall starting at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

In this time of great sadness, I know we are united in grieving the loss of a member of our community.

Kind regards,

Kevin G. Shollenberger

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65 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Oh God, how awful. God bless. God speed.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Damn, hope she’s alright.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Bwog, can we get more updates on how she is doing please?

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I doubt they know. I hope they survive, and that they recover.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Spec is reporting that they where attempting CPR on her, recovery from a fall high enough to shut down breathing and the heart is unlikely. My Dad always was scared of those windows, it is really easy to fall out of them.

      2. Ella says:

        @Ella We’re posting updates as they come in. Please leave any additional information in the comments, or send it to tips@bwog.com.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous She’s in all of our thoughts tonight. Everyone be safe!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Spec says NYPD says no one has died, I hope that’s true.

    https://twitter.com/CU_Spectator/status/240297057015984128

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This is why John Jay needs screens. Its absolutely ridiculous that you have open windows like this. So anyone, like from the 15th floor, can have this happen to them too.

    Columbia better install something after this….

    12 hours of being on campus and someone has fallen.

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon Maybe Columbia should screen the students they put on higher floors to prevent something like this

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous It’s a nice thought, but I think that’d be an unnecessarily large stretch of resources.

      2. Sure says:

        @Sure Put a suicidal student on a lower floor. Hell, even put them in John Jay Lounge. If someone has their mind set, that’s still not going to stop them from opening one of the windows at the end of the hallway on the 15th floor—those windows that don’t belong to a dorm room that look out onto 114th—and jumping.

        Also, with your idea, then all the more depressed students would be isolated from the happier students? So segregation by “mentall unwellness”? How does that help the issue at all?

        1. Anon says:

          @Anon It was supposed to be a pun on the word “screen” to lighten the mood obviously the emotional distress of many readers caused them to not notice this. Sorry to the offended.

    2. CC13 says:

      @CC13 I lived on the 15th floor. My window had bars on them.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous To upperclassmen who have empty rooms in their suites/floors – care to offer up those rooms for the night to any freshmen in LLC or John Jay who can’t get back in tonight?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous They don’t have keys, you can sleep in butler or in the engineering building. Math hall also is open at night. Shoot, I’ve forgotten the 24/7 buildings. They’ll let you in soon.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I mean if someone were to offer their services or say “We have 2 empty rooms, here’s my UNI – message me if you need to stay” then maybe that’d help. Just an idea. And I’m sure this must be even more emotionally painful to the new Freshman class than it is to the overall campus community. So it’d be great if they had the welcoming hospitality of a few upperclassmen to talk things through or be reminded that there is a community there for them for the next 4 years if they ever need it – that doors and ears are open.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Snuggle party in Ruggles for all the freshpeople?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous you’re not even on campus….

  • Curious says:

    @Curious The true tragedy is that someone’s life is in very critical condition right now regardless of the circumstances or motivation that led to this, but has anyone released if this was an accident or a suicide attempt?

    1. Sherlock Holmes says:

      @Sherlock Holmes Based on the time of night and the fact that NSOP is in full swing it may have been a drunken accident, but you never know

  • Anon says:

    @Anon At first I thought it might be a drunken accident or something, but it is really weird that it was the two students on the ground that called the police about the incident and not somebody on JJ 6. If it was a freak accident with multiple parties in the room then you would think someone from upstairs would call.

    It would be reasonable that she was the only person inside that room then and either fell on accident or jumped.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous The accident angle is not to be overlooked. She could have been hanging up posters or something and slipped. Those windows are crazy dangerous.

  • Pro-tip says:

    @Pro-tip 212-854-5555 is faster then calling 911, may sure to program this number into your phones freshmen. In an emergency, seconds matter and we have on campus facilities that can respond faster then the NYPD and who know the campus.

    1. nice self promotion, but says:

      @nice self promotion, but if you see someone looking dead on the sidewalk,you should really call 911.

    2. I doubt says:

      @I doubt if even CAVA could have arrived within three minutes, as the NYPD did. I don’t think calling 911 was a mistake, and let’s not put that idea into the heads of the people who found her, should they ever read this.

    3. yes, you're right says:

      @yes, you're right but they haven’t even got to orientation yet… so I doubt the freshmen have been told yet that you should always call cava

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Spec also says that paramedics were performing CPR. A paramedic is well-trained enough to know that you don’t perform CPR unless the patient has no pulse and is not breathing (i.e. dead). So lets just hope it worked.

    1. not to state the obvious says:

      @not to state the obvious but you don’t have to be dead to have cpr performed. it’s not like a prereq or anything…

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous True, but if the emergency responder has to resort to CPR after verifying that the victim has no pulse and isn’t breathing, then the victim’s chances are, unfortunately, not very great. CPR has a relatively low success rate.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Someone else who says the paramedics were performing CPR. That person might not have known what CPR looks like, could have been referring to basic first aid as CPR, etc. Keeping my hopes up until firm details are published.

  • Well-Meaning RA says:

    @Well-Meaning RA For those debating about CAVA or 911, CAVA is generally going to be faster, cheaper, and CAVA personnel are fully licensed EMTs just like 911 responders. If you call CAVA and they are currently responding to another incident, Public Safety will immediately dispatch another ambulance.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s possible, but in my opinion that isn’t very likely. It’s only the first day of NSOP, and around the time of the fall we would have recently finished our mandatory floor meetings.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous To clarify, I meant to respond to the comment speculating that it could have been a drunken accident.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I lived in John Jay as a freshman and the way my bed was positioned pretty much made it impossible to fall out, but I did have a friend whose bed was positioned directly next to the window and was just the right height to make falling out a very real possibility. I think it’s impractical/unnecessary to screen the windows but caution is definitely needed. However this incident happened though, whether as a result of the persons lack of caution or just a plain freak accident, the fact remains that someone was seriously hurt and I’m sure their parents will be very distressed. I really hope and pray that they recover,

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’m wondering if Columbia could somehow buy some adjustable window screens to either loan out or sell for cheap to students. It would at least help prevent possible accidents, both falling people and falling objects, from occurring.

  • Concerned '14er says:

    @Concerned '14er Seriously, Columbia needs to work on installing screens. As a sensible individual, I haven’t found it to be a problem that they have left those out, but I would be really worried if my kids were living in dorms where the windows didn’t have screens and were big enough to jump through. Absolutely ridiculous.

  • Let's wait for the facts says:

    @Let's wait for the facts It’s bad enough that Columbia sealed the tunnels, locked the roofs and cut off most balconies. What we already know about tonight’s tragedy is shocking and sad, but I hope it doesn’t turn into a call to bowdlerize our fair campus even further with mandatory window screens.

  • '14 says:

    @'14 Shollenberger just sent out an email; death of a student. Sigh…

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I cant begin to imagine the grief those parent must be feeling right now…particularly if the student was a freshman…which is highly likely.

      One of the best/proudest days if their lives will now be tarnished by grief
      A day which should have been the first for them to let go of their child as she became a college student has become the day in which they lost her forever.

      I can’t begin to imagine…..
      To all the first years out there….keep strong….and if you need someone to talk to….PLEASE take advantage of the services Columbia provides.

  • CC'13 says:

    @CC'13 part of me can’t even engage with this, it’s just too sad, the other part can’t stop thinking about her family, her friends, and all the new students.

    if anyone needs someone to talk to tonight, please email me at ens2116@columbia.edu. this goes out to anyone, though freshman, especially. death in any circumstances, even of a stranger, is so awful and disarming, please don’t go through it alone if you don’t have to.

    my love to everyone in the columbia community tonight. let’s also work together to keep this comment space respectful.

    1. but says:

      @but your e-mail address doesn’t show a name when entered in columbia.edu

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous it happens if you do the summer program before college, something doesn’t transfer. but, i promise i am real and have some counseling training (though i’m not a substitute for the real deal) and i know what it’s like to get one of these emails on this campus and feel alone and overwhelmed. in case anyone needs an ear, i am here.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Thank you for clearing up that mystery. I have always wondered why I don’t show up in the system.

    2. CC'13 (again) says:

      @CC'13 (again) to everyone who emailed-
      my apple mail client showed your messages coming in but refuses to display them, and so does gmail? maybe this is overkill, but if you need me, you can try my other email, eva.n.suarez@gmail.com.

      please be gentle with yourselves and one another, and please, please let someone know if you don’t want to be alone.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous thoughts go out to the CU community and to the parents of the student.
    Must be strong and spread the love in a situation like this.

  • Alum says:

    @Alum I’m so, so sorry to hear about this, especially on the first night of orientation. My thoughts/prayers are with her family, and deepest regrets with the classmates– this is a terrible, sobering thing for them to deal with and comprehend when they should have reason to celebrate and meet each other in good spirits. I hope that the class can deal with this maturely and gracefully together and that they can find reasons to come together as a community with positivity and warmth for each other as they begin their time here with such a devastating event. Love for all of you from beyond the graduation podium– remember, there are always people at Columbia who do actually care.

  • Nightline says:

    @Nightline anonymous, nonjudgmental peer counseling hotline

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/nightline/

    212 854 7777

    1. Question says:

      @Question The website says they don’t take calls after 3am – is that right?

      1. CC'14 says:

        @CC'14 True. However, because of the time difference I’ll be up and running throughout the (American) nights, so if any of you need support, just shoot me an e-mail at rr2722. I promise to respond within minutes.

        Stay strong, freshmen. And don’t forget you have your right to be happy regardless of this tragedy.

    2. Katie Mukai says:

      @Katie Mukai Nightline is temporarily closed at this point in the semester; we are working to reopen the lines as soon as possible. In the meantime I want to echo what has been said already—please reach out to RAs, to CPS and Furman, and to each other in this extremely difficult time. and a huge thank you to Bwog for listing us as a resource. Our condolences and thoughts are with our Columbia community.

      Katie Mukai
      codirector of Nightline
      km2650@barnard.edu

  • CC'12 says:

    @CC'12 Stay strong Columbia.

  • BC '15 says:

    @BC '15 Does anyone know if this was an accident?

    1. CC'11 says:

      @CC'11 Police are calling it a suicide according to the Spec article: I really hope not but they must have good reason to think it was. http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2012/08/28/student-dies-after-fall-john-jay-window

      “A female student died after falling from a 14th-floor window in John Jay Hall on Monday night, the University has confirmed, in what police are calling an apparent suicide. Her identity is being withheld as police contact the student’s family.”

  • CC'11 says:

    @CC'11 We are thinking of you, CC’16 and everyone at Columbia. My heart goes out to the student’s fam. <3 Rest in peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous this is horrifyingly awful

  • CC '12 says:

    @CC '12 This is terribly sad news. Take care of one another CC ’16.

  • SEAS'13 says:

    @SEAS'13 There isn’t much I can do but I do want to help the freshman in any way that I can. If anyone in John Jay or any other dorm just wants to get away my suite is open to you. If you would like another place to sleep I have an air mattress and a couch open to you as well. I’m also hear to listen and talk but if you want to. I’d rather not put up my UNI here so e-mail me at SEAS2013@gmail.com if you want to just talk or to find out my dorm.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous My heart goes out to Martha and her family today. This is such a terrible tragedy. Stay safe, guys, and take care of yourselves. You are loved; don’t forget that.

  • Twitch says:

    @Twitch We shouldn’t neglect the mental health effect of having bars on the windows. On a campus that doesn’t let you sit on the grass, not being able to open your window is probably not that healthy.

    I grieve for Martha and wish her family and friends comfort in this horrible, horrible time. What a tragic end for such bright promise.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous LISTED RESOURCES, at columbia and outside of COLUMBIA: http://thecns.tumblr.com/

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I had one of these in my window in Wien. You can buy them at Bed, Bath and Beyond for ~$10. There’s one in Lincoln Square.

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