October 10, 2008

Body of Cornell Alum Recovered From Collegetown Gorge

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Updated 3:28 p.m.
At about 2:00 p.m. yesterday, the body of Jakub J. Janecka ’98 was found at the bottom of Cascadilla Gorge, under the College Avenue Bridge connecting Collegetown to Central Campus. A Cornell Police officer stated that the 33 year old had allegedly dove head-first into the gorge. Around 2:30, Janecka’s body was removed on a stretcher and transported to the Cayuga Medical Center Morgue by Bangs Ambulance.

In response to the incident, the Ithaca Police Department, Cornell Police, Bangs Ambulance and Ithaca Fire Department reported to the scene. They closed the bridge to pedestrians and vehicular traffic for about an hour.

The case is still being investigated by the IPD. It is unconfirmed why the victim, a native of Lake Ariel, Pa., was in Ithaca.

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While this suicide was an isolated incident, incidence of suicide at Cornell is consistent with the national average in higher education, which is 7/100,000 per year, according to Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations for Gannett. The last time an enrolled student died by suicide at Cornell was in 2006, and since 2002, there have been five student deaths due to suicide.

For those upset by the situation and looking to seek counseling, Gannett’s counseling services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “At Cornell, every member of the community has a role to play in expressing concern and providing support for one another, particularly to a student who is hurting,” Dittman stated. She urged students to go to Gannett’s website to obtain information about how to get support, give support to a friend, and connect a student to services.

In addition to counseling, the University has a crisis management team overseeing the situation. “Crisis managers are prepared to meet with students who may have been upset and concerned,” said Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67.

To get in touch with a crisis manager, students should contact the Cornell Police at 255-1111. With any additional information regarding this case, please contact the IPD at 272-9973.

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