New York City, NY — by Alyssa Goldberg
Content warning: This article discusses suicide.
A student died in Bobst Library around 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2009. By 9 a.m., Bobst was already reopened, and no areas were cordoned off. By 10:54 a.m., the New York City Police Department had confirmed to Gothamist that the student had jumped from an upper floor.
John Sexton, the NYU president at the time, sent a universitywide email at 12:20 p.m. informing students of the death and encouraging them to contact the Wellness Exchange. At 12:22 p.m., campus tours for prospective students were still visiting the library.
Later that day, NYU admissions ambassador-in-training Natalie Veenhof told NYU Local that she had first learned about the death that morning when she arrived at Bobst to give a tour. Ambassadors are taught how to answer difficult questions from prospective students and their families, but she had not yet undergone the full training process.
Answering questions about suicide is now briefly discussed during the ambassador interview and training processes. Ambassador candidates participate in group interviews in which they answer questions they might receive from prospective parents and students during campus tours.
“One of the situations that an interviewee had to act out was being asked why there are bars in Bobst,” Steinhardt junior and former admissions ambassador Kate Carey said. “The person being interviewed had to talk about how there are mental health resources on campus and that NYU Wellness is really important to us, and that there had been a lot of work towards providing students the mental health resources they would need to be able to succeed under the stressful environment that university can be.”
Despite addressing this topic in the interview process, Carey said that guidance on answering questions about the connection between Bobst and student suicides is not included in the handbook distributed to ambassadors. Ambassadors-in-training do, however, briefly discuss Bobst and suicides again during training.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.