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Woman Found Dead In EC

Update, 10:45am, 4/1: Student Affairs has not yet released the name as they are trying to reach her family, but the woman has been confirmed by Spectator as Jessica Fingers.

According to Gothamist and CBS, a 21-year old woman was found dead in East Campus this morning. The article reports that police responded at around 11:48 AM and that EMS pronounced her dead at the scene.

Student Affairs told Bwog that the woman was a Columbia student who had been on leave for one year, and who had entered with the class of 2013. She was signed into EC by a CU student.

CPS and religious advisors will be open until 11 p.m. tonight.

Update, 6:30: Shollenberger has just released a statement; the full email is below.

Dear students,

It is with deep sadness and regret that I write to inform you of the untimely loss of one of our students who has been on leave from Columbia but visiting campus at the time of her passing.

Although the local police department has made contact with the family, unfortunately, at this time we have been unable to reach them. Out of respect for the family, we will not release the student’s name until we have done so.

When we lose a member of our community, we are all affected by the loss. During this time, I encourage you to rely on one another and University resources. You may seek support from professional staff by calling or visiting Counseling and Psychological Services (854-2878), which will be open until 11:00 p.m. tonight, both on the 8th floor of Lerner Hall and in the East Campus CPS office. CPS will maintain regular evening hours throughout the week.

Members of our Residential Programs staff are also available in all of our residence halls and may be reached by contacting the RA on-call in your building throughout the evening. For ongoing support, students may also reach out to the Office of the University Chaplain (854-1493) beginning Monday morning or to your adviser in the Center for Student Advising.

With deepest sympathy,
Dean Shollenberger

Update, 6:00 pm, 4/1: Deans Valentini and Goldfarb have sent an extended letter to students with information on Jessica Fingers and about support on campus:

Dear Students,

We want to express our deepest condolences for the loss of Jessica Fingers CC ’13, who came to Columbia as a track star from Monticello, N.Y., and was majoring in sociology. Jessica was on leave from the University and was visiting friends in East Campus at the time of her death.

It is very difficult to mourn the loss of a member of one’s community. This is a terrible tragedy for Jessica’s family and a sad time for many of us. In times like this, we can all rely on the strength of the Columbia community as a resource. We encourage you to come together as classmates and friends to support one another as we remember Jessica.

As always, staff, administrators and professors are also here to support you. Counseling and Psychological Services will have extended hours until 9 p.m. tonight in East Campus, 115 Hartley and 600 West 113th Street. As a reminder, the following resources are available to you:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services – (212) 854-2878
  • Center for Student Advising – (212) 854-6378
  • Office of the University Chaplain – (212) 854-1493
  • Members of the Residential Programs staff are available and may be reached by contacting the RA on-call in your building


James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College and
Vice President for Undergraduate Education


Donald Goldfarb
Interim Dean and Avanessians Professor of IEOR
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

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  • wait says:

    @wait “[UPDATE] An NYPD spokesman confirmed that the woman was not a student at Columbia.” huh

  • wait says:

    @wait oh ok. nevermind lol. she was out and then just rejoining so technically she wasnt a student at the time.

  • woah says:

    @woah how did it happen? murder? suicide? a

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Looks like she died from a known blood clotting disorder, not suicide or drugs.

  • Sigh says:

    @Sigh probably another suicide. Oh. God. this is like the 3rd one this year.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I heard it was drug related. That’s not to say that it wasn’t suicide, but even if it was accidental it probably hints at some mental health issues that Columbia will no doubt sweep under the rug.

      1. adult says:

        @adult Our it could be that whatever her issues were are none of your business. Maybe her parents want some privacy to deal with the loss of their daughter without a lot of speculative crap from people like you. Also her patient and academic records are protected from release by law, see HIPAA and FERPA, douche.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous False, death records are public records her medical record is controlled through HIPAA, but death certificates, which list the cause of death are public

          1. adult says:

            @adult Not false. I said nothing about cause of death and you can be the first to reveal that to the community here and revel in your investigative prowess. But you’re missing my original point and you need to extract your ego from the discussion.

        2. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous you sound like a douche

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The school needs to do something about students taking leaves of absences and then dying. On the theme of Easter, it’s almost as if the school tries to wash the blood off its hands (à la Pontius Pilate) by having students leave first. Of course there’s no evidence of this being a suicide caused by stress or depression; this could very well be an accident. But the phenomenon persists.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous They need to take a serious look at the policy of forced medical leave.

      1. adult says:

        @adult So instead of having students seek help at home, being cared for by parents, the U should do what? Keep students who can’t function enrolled?

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Not everyone has a support system at home or the means to afford psychiatric care. For a lot of people, time at home leads to more isolation, fewer people checking in. That is certainly not everyone of course, a lot of people do benefit from time off, but I think the University should not force anyone to go home who doesn’t want to (barring issues with academic performance).

        2. Excuse me says:

          @Excuse me Sorry, but not everyone has that home, with parents able and willing to care for them, to go back to. For many of us, being here at University provides access to the best resources available to us. For those who are lucky to have better care at home, medical leave should certainly be an option. But forcing people to go on leave when they admit to struggling sometimes actually hinders them in their effort to get help.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous it certainly discourages them from accessing the (albeit limited) resources that are available to them here on campus or notifying someone when they’re not doing well.

    2. cc '13 says:

      @cc '13 i don’t think you can place the mental health of the university on the hands of the administration any more than you can place that of the country on the hands of the president. it just seems silly to me that we expect everyone to be ok and for the school to be able to fix those who aren’t.

      to say that the school has blood on its hands implies that it drove this (or any other) student to death. i think when you spell it out like that, rather than hinting at it, that sounds really stupid. these incidents are sad. really really sad. but, it doesn’t help to just blame the largest figure involved.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous You’re right in that it’s not the responsibility of the University to prevent students from dying. Still, I would like to see more openness regarding the mental health issues students face. It would be very comforting to know that if I found myself in a precarious/at risk situation, someone would be here to offer a helping hand, instead of everyone being bystanders. This isn’t something that should be brushed under the carpet.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous I had CPS tell me there was nothing they could do for me when they had to keep canceling my new intakes after my old therapist left, and then refuse to give me documentation to excuse me from a week of classes when I was hospitalized due to mental health issues. Then a professor told me the only people he excuses without official university documentation are athletes because they “perform a service for the community.” This place is a fucking hellhole for people dealing with mental illness.

        2. anon says:

          @anon Not that we know what happened to this young girl, but in any case the mental health system at Columbia needs serious work. A few years ago, I admitted the fact that I was emotionally and mentally suffering, and was asking for help. My adviser sent me up to CPS, and that moment onward I got pretty sad treatment from both my adviser and CPS. My adviser kept pushing medical leave on me, while I had to keep repeating myself to my CPS therapist every session because she forgot what I said last time, so I didn’t get adequate help. Prior to admitting my suffering, my adviser loved me since I was getting good grades, but the minute I told her I was severely depressed, she made me feel like I didn’t belong at Columbia. I ended up taking taking voluntary medical leave, because I was feeling worse and worse – nearly suicidal. I got a therapist who actually helped and is still helping me, but my god, the ordeal at Columbia would make someone who ISN’T already mentally anguished and depressed, depressed. Imagine someone who is already depressed, or suffering from a mental or psychological issue dealing with this? Their issues just get worse. Not sure if this is the same for all voluntary medical leaves, but according to my adviser, SEAS students had to take the whole year off.

          Let me tell you, that was rough and humiliating – Once I finally was getting the help I needed, I was ready to come back within a few weeks but I couldn’t, so I started to get a different kind of depression that needed to be treated. I couldn’t see my friends, and I didn’t know how to keep up with my ability to do work once I would start school again. I ended up graduating last May, but it was all just so much. Once I went through the process of being “medically certified,” no one, not a single person tried to offer help for the future. And the sad thing is, I knew I wasn’t going to get help even if I asked, given my first go around. I made sure to keep my therapist, and have consistent help until graduation. Even though I have great memories from my time at Columbia, all I ever remember when I think about this school is how I felt letdown, unwanted, and uncared for when I really needed help.The mental health facilities at Columbia need an all around change, that’s for sure.

          1. CC14 says:

            @CC14 sorry you had to go through that, definitely something needs to be done.

      2. yeah, but says:

        @yeah, but as someone said earlier, it’s more about the forced medical leave…I was on suicide watch last year and my advisor/counselors kept urging me to take a year off repeatedly, despite how often my family and I were like, “no, thank you, we’ll try other options”

        it’s fine, even good, that students’ mental health isn’t the university’s responsibility, but the way they handle it often seems pretty dishonest.

        1. cc '13 says:

          @cc '13 damn. that is kind of a shitty policy.

          1. What exactly says:

            @What exactly Is the university supposed to do? I’ve seen CPS counselors myself and was told by my therapist once that they see upwards of 25% of the student body in any given year. They have like 8 people on staff… Clearly they are overwhelmed with a workload that probably trumps our own. A forced leave of absence would most likely be a blessing in disguise. What’s the alternative?

          2. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous Hire more staff?

          3. CC14 says:

            @CC14 “what else Is the university supposed to do? I’ve seen CPS counselors myself and was told by my therapist once that they see upwards of 25% of the student body in any given year. They have like 8 people on staff… Clearly they are overwhelmed with a workload that probably trumps our own. A forced leave of absence would most likely be a blessing in disguise. What’s the alternative?”

            Actually, a lot can be done, given that Columbia University has the funds to do pretty much anything to improve the mental health of the student body. If they are really seeing 25% of the student body on any given day, then there is a simple solution: HIRE MORE STAFF! We’re not some poor community college that doesn’t have the resources to make sure that students are provided the best counselors!

            Also, the administration could work on actually addressing this issue directly, just like how alcohol abuse is addressed to all freshmen. Although I don’t believe that a video is the best way to approach this issue, but maybe have it a part of under1roof? I’m no professional, so maybe CPS itself can come up with a better way of improving the mental health of students – anything will make a difference (I hope).

          4. Hiring more staff says:

            @Hiring more staff Is Easier said than done. If you actually go to Columbia, you understand it’s more bureaucratic than DC…

          5. CC14 says:

            @CC14 Yes its bureaucratic, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still try to make the change- even if it takes years to establish an efficient system.

        2. just an idea says:

          @just an idea Just thinking and I think that half time off should be something Columbia makes available to depressed/mentally ill students. I think taking a whole year off probably means the loss of some skills, some acclimazation to the college environment and perhaps some support because friends have moved up a year or graduated. It should be an option if things are really bad, but perhaps life would be easier of students were given the option of taking a one to two week break from Columbia ( in special circumstances- not just “i feel tired”) so that they could have a chance to get their head straight and still rejoin the Columbia community, professors would give make up work or something. Them students could come back to Columbia feeling more refreshed and not be a year behind, which some people cannot afford. Thoughts?

          1. CC '16 says:

            @CC '16 even just the option for taking off a semester would be better. I was looking into taking time off but the fact that I would have had to be gone for an entire year kept me from actually considering it. it’s obvious that it’s set up as a last resort option when it really doesn’t have to be.

          2. GS 2010 says:

            @GS 2010 Also, what if CC and SEAS students had the option of taking classes part-time while dealing with medical or mental health issues? I realize GS is designed for non-traditional students with families and/or careers to work around, but I found the option of taking as many or few credits a semester as I felt comfortable with to be incredibly stress-relieving. If a student in distress could remain in the community while taking one or two classes, maybe he or she would have more real time to deal with mental health issues and to actually heal. Just a thought…

          3. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous The problem with having 2 week/semester long breaks is that students would return before they fully recovered. If you need time to “get your head straight,” 1 year seems pretty reasonable. Take care of yourself. The unwavering academic commitment of CU students is admirable… but our well-being is not an acceptable trade off. If you are ill enough take time off, then do it right. Take advantage of the full time being offered to you. Recovering from mental illness is a long term process. It does not adhere to the academic calender just because taking one semester would be most convenient for you.

      3. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I think that Columbia (number 4!) is indeed deathly important to the self-worth of many students.

        And it seems to be accepted that the administration is unusually adversarial. Not only is Columbia an unsupportive partner when dealing with medical leave, but there’s institutional disregard for students in a range of less serious community issues as well. It’s hypocritical that the administration is paternalistic when dealing with locks on the windows, anti-drinking fervor and a surprising disdain for the capabilities of Ivy League students, but at the same time leaves us to fight for ourselves when it comes to managing the bureaucracy (be it regarding health, advising, financial aid, w/e).

        1. dirty mike says:

          @dirty mike this.

  • This is just weird says:

    @This is just weird What’s up with people who keep dying on campus; this is disturbing honestly

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous @This is just weird: It’s not about “weird” – it’s about insufficiently treated mental health struggles and disregard for substance abuse.

      1. / says:

        @/ a stressful and sometimes isolating environment full of people at the general age of onset of many mental health issues.

    2. anon says:

      @anon It’s sad, I agree, and I won’t deny that there may be some pattern here, but another way to look at it is that Columbia has a large student body – statistically, some of those people in any given year will die.

  • SEAS '13 says:

    @SEAS '13 A Farewell

    My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
    No lark could pipe to skies so dull and grey:
    Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you
    For every day.

    Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
    Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
    And so make life, death, and that vast for-ever
    One grand, sweet song.

    Charles Kingsley

  • the peacemaker says:

    @the peacemaker katie holmes.

  • Sigh says:

    @Sigh “Out of respect for the family, we will not release the student’s name until we have done so.”

    At least pretend to give a shit and proofread…

    1. uh says:

      @uh what’s wrong with that sentence? reading comprehension: “we will not release the student’s name until we have [reached the family]”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Who is it

  • the circumstances of these deaths says:

    @the circumstances of these deaths offer depressing reinforcement that most school-based counseling/outreach programs/”we care” sentiments seem to exist mainly to cover columbia’s ass…

    regardless, this is horrible––I’m so sorry she had to die this soon and in this fashion…rest in peace.

  • sarcasm says:

    @sarcasm It’s times like this I’m really glad the student wellness project has a brownstone.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous 1. swp is a young organization that hasn’t had enough time to make the changes it wants to.
      2. considering that this probably wasn’t a suicide, there’s nothing swp could have done to prevent this from happening so somehow tracing this to them with ridiculous disparaging comments which make no sense. please stop being a cynical asshat.

      1. Yes, but... says:

        @Yes, but... While I agree with much of what you wrote (especially the issue of blaming others – student groups/the administration – when someone dies), drug use/abuse is absolutely a wellness issue that should be taken on by SWP as peer advocacy/education on this matter is necessary!

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous how in any way would the student wellness project prevent a girl from overdosing on drugs…. or any death for that matter. this has nothing to do with the tragedy. gtfo

    3. someone died says:

      @someone died and you’re bitching about HOUSING??????

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous No, I’m bitching about the treatment of student wellness by an inept administration and a well-meaning, but poorly conceived student movement.

  • Same Anon says:

    @Same Anon Of course the counterargument might be that you can’t subject the other students to one person’s instability.

  • the info is pulic says:

    @the info is pulic I don’t think it was a suicide, more an accidental drug overdose. her and her bf were using drugs and she overdosed. that’s it. It is on the NY post.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Oh yeah, the NY Post, the crazy homeless man of journalism.

      1. ok, says:

        @ok, believe whatever you wish. but blindly assuming it’s a suicide, perhaps isn’t a great idea.

    2. what? says:

      @what? How in the world would the NY post know that it was an “accidental overdose” if the autopsy hasn’t even been done?! horrible journalism.

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 It boggles my mind that so many people feel compelled to come onto this website to leave snarky or speculative comments when someone has died. This person was one of us, and her death is a tragedy regardless of any factors that contributed to it. Be compassionate.

    1. But.. says:

      @But.. it doesn’t even matter if she was “one of us”, she was a person and any person’s death should be treated with respect whether they were “one of us” or not.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Maybe by “one of us” CC’13 meant “a human.”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Dean Shollenberger: If this is an ‘untimely’ death what, then, is a “timely” one?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous an old person dying from natural causes?

  • CC13 says:

    @CC13 Can we all stop pretending we know this girl’s entire life story? It never said anywhere that she was forced by the administration to go on medical leave for mental health issues. Maybe she took a year off because of a great job opportunity. Or financial reasons. Or a family member’s health problems. Regardless, it is premature to blame anyone – including the administration’s policies – for a situation we actually know very little about. Is it possible for us to collectively grieve for a lost member of our community without immediately searching for someone to blame?

    1. this says:

      @this there is at least one person with sense on Bwog

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I agree, but I also think the fact that we automatically assumed it was due to mental health reasons also says something about Columbia and the administration….

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous It certainly says something about *us* that we immediately pigeonholed this girl’s story into the convenient ongoing narrative (the administration regularly fails students in its policies, etc) without knowing the details of the case, thereby depriving her of a worthy memorial. From now until the end of the internet, anytime someone searches for her, people will see this as the tribute that the Columbia community paid to Jessica Fingers. Surely we can do better than this ceaseless bickering?

  • the name has been revealed says:

    @the name has been revealed ny post reports the name is jessica fingers

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Jessica, may you rest in peace.

  • A guy says:

    @A guy The US suicide rate is 12 in 100,000. Columbia has 27,606 students. Thus there would be, assuming national rates, 3.31 suicides a year- which fits the three this year.

    No doubt, every death is a tragedy, and I feel personally devastated even though I never knew her. But it’s not as if there’s something particularly bad about Columbia that the administration can just fix. This isn’t an argument against more psychological assistance resources. But it’s just showing that we aren’t experience some kind of epidemic.

    1. A guy says:

      @A guy Erm, “aren’t experiencing”.

      1. A guy says:

        @A guy That’s actually me, the OP, correcting myself. Heads up.

        Also, downvoted posts get Comic Sans? Nice touch.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Nice calculation but it’s not possible to assume equivalence of epidemiological rates. Plus, the US’s mental health care system is shitful at best for the majority of the population whereas the Columbia community should theoretically have coverage for all students. I’m not trying to say that every suicide (not that we have any verified information on this recent death) is preventable but events like these should at least force reevaluation on the part of the administration.

    3. Brapster says:

      @Brapster Columbia: where average is just fine.

  • why says:

    @why would you call yourself an adult to distinguish yourself from other posters and then go on to make a slightly immature comment. The vast majority of college students are legally adults.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Seriously guys someone died…regardless of how, when, where or happened and a lot of people are hurting now…probably not the best time to argue about anything really or post distasteful comments or troll.

  • potes says:

    @potes holy douche lord batman tone down the anger a fellow student just passed away

    1. potes says:

      @potes I hate when the reply feature doesn’t work for me :(

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous stop blaming people. stop intellectualizing things. this is whats so fucked up about this place. someone died, and all we should be is mourning for her and for her family. its so disrespectful to see people making this about an issue with them and the administration.

  • Just gonna put it out there says:

    @Just gonna put it out there Spectator reported on who the woman was. You don’t have to look very hard on her Facebook page to find that she had other, non-mental health issues, such as blood clotting disorders. It is entirely possible that this had nothing to do with mental health issues and everything to do with other issues.

  • anonymouse says:

    @anonymouse Regardless of who it was and how it happened, this is a tragedy… and when it is someone my age, in my dorm, it serves as a reminder that life is all too fleeting. RIP, Jessica. My thoughts go out to her family and friends, especially the friends who discovered her.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous @Anon: I went to a few sessions in Furman a few months ago because I was experiencing some warning signs that my depression was coming back and wanted to make sure it didn’t. I felt like my therapist had absolutely no trust for me. I mentioned that I had brief suicidal ideations in high school–absolutely not intentions or plans to kill myself, just VERY brief thoughts of “what if I was dead?”–but had not experienced any kind of suicidal feeling since then and that there was a 0% chance that I was going to kill myself. I found myself exhaustively explaining, during every session, that those thoughts were DURING HIGH SCHOOL and NO LONGER RELEVANT. I felt very patronized. I stopped going to Furman and likely will never go back, no matter how much I might need it in the future.

  • SEAS'12 says:

    @SEAS'12 I completely agree that Columbia needs a policy where SEAS students can go part-time class, part-time recuperation. I understand, with the way the SEAS curriculum/ when classes are offered, that just taking half a year off isn’t really feasible. I took a medical leave of absence because my adviser and CPS kept pushing it at me. Granted, I needed some time off because school work and tense relationships were making it stressful. But do they know what it’s like to have to be away from your second home for a whole year? I got lucky and decided that what I needed was a therapist and a job related to my major. I had a family who couldn’t quite understand what I was going through, but still tried and had the resources for me to take time off. But for those who feel like they’re drowning in a pit they can’t escape, a therapist alone may not be enough and they’ll need friends who can be there for them. It is possible to just talk to them online or over the phone, but anyone can tell you it’s different in person.

    The process of putting a student on medical leave is so bureaucratic that it screams a lack of sincerity and for students who think it’s shameful to graduate early or that they can’t continue, it feels humiliating from their point of view even if it is not. When Tejraj Antooa passed away, they followed policy simply because he wasn’t an enrolled student. This is how they view these students in policy. They also do very little to help you plan what you are going to do during your leave of absence besides finding a therapist. Having your brain sit idle isn’t a great decision and some people who are in that situation need a little push to find what motivates them in life. Depression is a very personal issue but it doesn’t mean these students must be isolated from the Columbia community.

    1. anon says:

      @anon I agree with you 100%…I was lucky enough to have a lot of support outside of Columbia, from family, home friends, and my therapist (who went above and beyond, and I will always be grateful to her). However, I wasn’t able to find an engineering related job, so I ended up doing random, odd jobs to give me something to do everyday. When I got back to campus the year later, I felt totally behind, and had to work extra hard to remember how to do Calc and linalg stuff from over a year back to do my homework in classes that needed me to be on top of my basic engineering math and science knowledge. Yes, the engineering curriculum tends to be for the year as opposed to per semester, but c’mon, there are other classes we can be taking if we were allowed to come back in one semester instead of two, such as core, and electives. I ended up taking mostly fluffy courses my first semester back anyway, because I knew I wasn’t used to the Columbia workload after a year of no problem sets and exams. I also really like the idea another poster presented where students suffering from a mental health issue can move to part time status – I think that alone would help A LOT of suffering students. They would have the ability to seek treatment and help off campus (I don’t think CPS therapists do a good job, in my honest opinion, and having a huge workload is no excuse. Hire more therapists then), while also being in their community. Obviously this wouldn’t work for everyone, but the reality is one option doesn’t fit all so the administration should stop thinking everyone’s mental illness or struggle can be dealt with in one, uniform way.

      1. SEAS'12 says:

        @SEAS'12 Glad to know someone else feels this way too. :) It really depends on which semester you choose to take time off. For me, it was during my junior year, so there was not much I could do about it without being on academic probation for being behind on tech classes. It would be nice if they altered that policy a bit since they don’t have a part-time option.

  • I'm probably going to get lambasted for saying this...but says:

    @I'm probably going to get lambasted for saying this...but If you are on suicide watch, then “no, thank you, we’ll try other options” is not a legitimate reason for staying at school. If you are in danger of killing yourself, school is literally the last environment that would be conducive to your recovery. What kind of monstrous administration would knowingly allow suicidal students to stay enrolled at the #1 stressful school in the country? That is like literally begging someone to attempt suicide. Forced medical leave exists so that the administration can step in when perspective has been lost in cases like this. As Columbians in the midst of an ultra-competitive ivy culture, we always want to keep going (myself included). We don’t know our own limits. We don’t know when we are pushing too hard. We don’t know when it’s time to stop and reevaluate. If you are on suicide watch and still want to be at school, someone has to have the authority to tell you that that’s a bad idea.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous this was a reply to the comment above that said:

      yeah, but
      67 upvotes; 0 downvotes March 31, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

      as someone said earlier, it’s more about the forced medical leave…I was on suicide watch last year and my advisor/counselors kept urging me to take a year off repeatedly, despite how often my family and I were like, “no, thank you, we’ll try other options”

      it’s fine, even good, that students’ mental health isn’t the university’s responsibility, but the way they handle it often seems pretty dishonest.

      1. Anon says:

        @Anon I agree with this. Forced medical leave implies just how sever the condition is, esp with depression, it’s harder to evaluate for the person themselves…but I hope some day there are other options that involve the school too for those whose conditions aren’t as severe. Even so, I hope the school wasn’t too cold/unsincere in that situation.

    2. uhhh says:

      @uhhh “Forced medical leave exists so that the administration can step in when perspective has been lost in cases like this…If you are on suicide watch and still want to be at school, someone has to have the authority to tell you that that’s a bad idea.”

      I mean, that’s giving a lot of judgmental power to someone who’d never heard of you until they were notified of your “suicidal tendencies” forty minutes earlier….

      It seems to me that people who have never wanted to kill themselves go haywire when they hear someone is suicidal––like it’s a fire or something you have to take care of and FAST!

      But you can also want to kill yourself on and off for years. Years! Depression isn’t always a fire! Sometimes you are stuck with it! And a calmer environment might not do too much to help your depression. In fact, graduating in four years rather than five might be preferable.

      It’s a complicated situation. Saying SCHOOL IS HARD GO HOME is oversimplifying. It’s also oversimplifying to say that CPS, who has little if any idea what your specific situation’s like, should be able to force you to leave for a year “for your own good.”

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous “It seems to me that people who have never wanted to kill themselves go haywire when they hear someone is suicidal––like it’s a fire or something you have to take care of and FAST!”

        GODDAMN right. It absolutely needs to be addressed with the utmost urgency………..if one of my friends comes to me tomorrow and says, “I am going to kill myself.” Are you telling me that I should just be like, “ahh, well…hopefully this isn’t a ‘real fire’. Suicidal thoughts can persist for years, so hopefully this isn’t the time when you actually try to kill yourself.”

        For people who are on suicide watch, the message is not SCHOOL IS HARD GO HOME. The message is GET HELP. And you can’t properly do that while worrying about your class load and gpa.

        Also, give me ONE hypothetical where it would be better for a sick person to suck it up and finish their degree in 4 years vs. taking time off?

        1. that's not the point at all says:

          @that's not the point at all Every suicidal thought is a real one…

          The point is that sometimes, they never go away. You either keep taking time off from school/life because well-intentioned people think you should, or you try your fucking hardest to live the life you want with the knowledge that depression is something you live with, not something you fix after a year at home.

          “Get help” is the Western excuse for “find someone professional because your mental problems confuse me and I figure it’s like the flu so you’ll come back fixed.” Professional help doesn’t make depression dissolve. If leaving helps, great, that’s why it’s an option. But FORCED medical leave is what happens when you give authority to well-meaning people who do not understand living with depression.

          1. A rock and a hard place says:

            @A rock and a hard place I understand that depression is not fixable in the same sense that a physical ailment is. I understand that it is an on-going lifelong struggle. However…if “every suicidal thought is a real one” (as we both agree), I just don’t know how the university would implement protocol that allowed them to distinguish between 1) suicidal people who will power through their thoughts & try to live their life as best they can and 2) suicidal people who will actually make an attempt on their life. I do not think it is fair that both types are lumped into the same category, but I would imagine that even the most experienced psychiatrist has a hard time discerning between the two.

            So, let’s say that forced medical leave does not exist. A student is displaying warning signs and is therefore placed on suicide watch. The administration is notified of this and recommends medical leave. The student insists on staying. The university has no other course of action that it can take, so it does nothing. The type 1 student goes on to graduate in 4 years, makes lots of money, becomes mad successful, yada yada. The type 2 student, however, is dead.

            There is no doubt that forced medical leave is an inconvenience for the type 1 student. But comparably, it seems like a small price to pay for the life of a someone who is type 2. And let me make clear: the situation is further complicated by the fact that these groups are not concrete or fixed in any way. A severely depressed person probably fluctuates between the two types at various points in his/her life. Policies regarding mental illness are beyond tricky to navigate. When it comes to suicide, you can see why most institutions have gone with such a preemptive approach.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous Wow. A Columbia student with serious health problems ODs on methadone (see her boyfriend’s fb page where he says it’s not her fault, she bought it) in a room provided by a “friend” of hers for her for the two of them to do drugs. The reaction here is a bunch of people start arguing and complaining about how the university doesn’t help them enough with their problems with depression.

    This woman’s friends killed her, in a dorm room surrounded by a lot of you. Wake up, the problem is not university authorities, but a lot of your fellow student’s irresponsible behaviors.

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