Ithaca is Fences!

Every day, on my walk from North Campus (where freshmen live) to Central, I cross over the Thurston Avenue Bridge. While I’m greeted with a phenomenal view of a waterfall (seriously…how many students can say that they pass a waterfall on the way to class?!), I’m also consistently reminded of the tragic suicides that took place last year.mail (640×480)I’ve noticed that there’s definitely been a whole lot of buzz about the issue. From “Ithaca is Fences” bumper stickers to articles in the Cornell Sun, it’s pretty obvious that Cornellians are riled up about the issue and have some differing beliefs on whether the fences should be in place or not.

Personally, I think the fences are a necessary evil: as horrible as the memories and ideas they conjure up are, the university simply did not have a choice after the multiple suicides last year. My belief is that if they save save one life–and stop one person from making an impulsive move that could end their life and drastically affect the lives of those close to them–they are entirely worth it.

However, I could definitely see the beliefs that opponents have. What kind of message does this send to prospective students? Welcome to Cornell, the school that actually has to put up physical barriers to prevent its’ students from committing suicide?

I also think that, to an extent, this issue has been exaggerated because the American news media are businesses: they try to sell stories to consumers. When you have articles like this published which state that “3 students plunge to death in campus gorges in past month,” it’s a heck of a lot more attention-grabbing than other forms of suicide, or other news stories in general. If the media would stop perpetuating the stereotype of Cornell being a suicide school, and perhaps focus on other, happier stories (like this Hotelie who sponsors proms for kids with life-threatening illnesses), we would be in a much better place.

The bottom line is that every member of the Cornell community wants the best for everyone…it’s just the methods of achieving that goal are not without controversy.

7 thoughts on “Ithaca is Fences!

  1. Vessel

    The interesting thing about these fences is that even though they clearly work in their current state, the University is willing to spend money to have architect Nader Tehrani redesign these fences in a more permanent fashion. People will always find ways around physical objects. It is the increase of emotional and mental help available that will truly come to the students’ aid.

  2. Hum Ec Grad '08

    I agree w/some aspects of the previous comment. The fence is just a front to show that Cornell is attempting to do something about the suicides. However it’s only a bandaid for the solution. In the end, there definitely needs to be an increase of help available for the students. Most Cornellians are students who are used to receiving high grades and being the best. Sometimes Cornell is a wakeup call and students realize they’re no longer #1. There’s just so much adjustment and changes that happen new students definitely need a good support system.

    Also there needs to be ways to decrease the stress levels/competition. Even if there are fences to prevent students from jumping off the bridges it doesnt meant there arent other ways for Cornell students to commit suicide. Every year there are probably many attempts but Cornell just tries to keep it all on the down low.

  3. Nike Shox

    Great content and it’s so helpful for me. But it’s so weird that you blog is in a mess through my explorer. Is that my explorer problem? But it’s pretty normal when exploring other blog!

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