I was greatly shocked by the attitude of Jennifer Streid-Mullen, the director of the Suicide Prevention Center (March 25, “Cornell Campus shaken after suicides”). But first, I would like to applaud The Ithacan and the writer Taylor Long for tackling such a difficult story. In the past, there have been on-campus suicides that have not been covered, and I think even just one person’s decision or mistake can have an effect on an entire community like ours. Thanks for writing and publishing, finally.
What happened at Cornell a few weeks ago has been a bone-chilling and deeply disheartening affair. But it seems the attitude at the SPC is one rather of entire ignorance. Streid-Mullen said when students end their lives by jumping, their death is glorified and the assumption becomes “they did this beautiful swan dive and now everyone thinks they’re great.” A director of a prominent local organization for suicide prevention must exhibit a greater sensitivity and understanding. She implies suicide victims aren’t victims at all, that those “paying tribute” are doing it the wrong way and that we in our 20s are easily drawn to attractive suicide scenarios.
Here, she demonstrates grave misunderstanding of the community and, then, oversimplifies our very complicated and very real feelings.
I can only urge the community to open their hearts and minds to those in need. We should be providing concern and help — not casting judgment. Streid-Mullen should rethink her position if this is the harmful stance she wishes to take. Where’s her apology?
Samantha Allen ’10