A college freshman jumped to his death from a dormitory roof at New York University, where a series of student suicides several years ago spurred such measures as blocking access to balconies, authorities said.
The student was found dead in a garden at University Hall around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, police said.
The student, from California, was enrolled in the university’s large College of Arts & Science, NYU spokesman John Beckman said. The student’s name, age and hometown were not released.
“This is a tragic and terrible event for our community,” Beckman said Sunday. A counselor was at the dormitory to talk with students, he said.
“We were freshmen, and this was supposed to be a new beginning,” resident Jacob Kirkorowicz, 18, told the Daily News. “It’s just a huge tragedy.”
Beckman said the death marked the first student suicide in three years at NYU, where five students took their lives within about a year between 2003 and 2004. In response, the university re-engineered two other dorms’ balcony doors to open only four inches, installed a plexiglass shield around a cavernous library atrium and enhanced its counseling service. The university now has a 24-hour hotline for students struggling with depression or other problems, among other services.
The private university counts more than 50,000 students, including more than 19,000 undergraduates.
An average of about 1,100 students a year commit suicide at colleges around the country, researchers say. But suicide is more prevalent among peers who aren’t in college, according to a 1997 research project led by a University of Chicago psychiatrist.
Still, student depression and other psychological problems have become growing concerns for colleges in recent years, in part because some institutions have faced lawsuits accusing them of doing too little to prevent student suicides.
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