Friday, April 2nd, 2010...8:13 pm
It’s pretty amazing to me how the recent bout with suicides on the Cornell campus have really started to control a number of different aspects for this university: the administration, student opinions (both for and against each other), the ways professors conduct themselves and their classes, etc. The power of what happened can’t be denied; even though we have gone a little while now without anything more tragic happening, the decision of the Cornell administration to construct fences on all the bridges on campus has created quite a stir … and for good reason. Common tidbits that I’ve heard from students around campus are that fences remind them of “concentration camps,” prisons, mental institutions, and the like. The argument for the fences is that it’ll give people that are contemplating suicide via the bridges one less option — it will give them pause before they make that horrible final decision. But does anyone else see a number of other problems with this? (Hint: See picture below.) …
Personally, I think this is a bad, bad, bad, very bad decision. Will the fences perhaps have an immediate positive impact? Maybe. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. I’ve also heard talk about putting nets under the bridges: Is that ridiculous and moronic idea going to be the next course of action? Seriously, these actions will have no long-term impact–especially since the fences are said to be temporary–and the fences just serve as this grisly reminder to all Cornellians that we are, apparently, so unstable that we have to be physically barred from jumping off bridges.
Depression is a reality. And some people–including recent Cornell students–have made that decision for suicide that cannot be reversed. But having fences up around campus just doesn’t seem to solve the problem for me: It draws more attention to what is already a sensitive situation, and sometimes, a mockery is even made out of it (i.e., someone’s bra plastered on the fence). Does working on long-term solutions click with anyone? Pushing counseling services, doing inspirational graffiti, maybe having a memorial or two, campus fundraisers and/or events … I can see all of that. Fences won’t solve this issue in the long-term, and I think that should be somewhat obvious to everyone. Let’s move towards something that will work, please.