What is it about NYU? Or being a student there? Or living in New York? Or is NYU just really unlucky among the many colleges filled with stressed-out or clinically depressed students?
Tuesday, a 20-year-old student Andrew Williamson-Noble, whose family lives in Irvington, NY, a wealthy suburban town north of the city, jumped to his death from the same place so many others have favored, a high floor of the Bobst Library on Washington Square Park. After two students jumped to their deaths at the library a month apart in 2003, the school installed plexiglass barriers to the open sections overlooking the atrium.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and the third leading cause of death among all youth 15–24 years old. In the U.S., only accidents and homicides claim more young lives.
NYU says it will now block elevator access to the upper floors after hours. The student jumped from the 10th floor around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Here’s the piece of the story that puzzles me: Toronto has had a public library since the 1970s with a similar atrium and floors high enough to jump from. I’ve never heard of someone committing suicide there — there are likely many other facilities with similar physical designs and layouts. Is NYU’s latest tragedy a horrible combination of relatively easy access to a lethal option and a vulnerable population? If so, what’s the solution? Is there one?
Here’s The Times’ story.