September 15, 2014

EDITORIAL: A Scholarship of Support

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Correction Appended

After years of litigation, a settlement was reached last week between the University and the father of a student who jumped to his death from the Thurston Avenue Bridge in 2010. Filed by Howard Ginsburg ’70, the lawsuit claimed that the University and the City of Ithaca did not do enough to prevent his son’s death. As part of the settlement, an annual scholarship will be awarded to Cornellians in honor of Bradley Ginsburg ’13. We at The Sun believe that this settlement between Howard Ginsburg and Cornell is a positive memorial to Bradley Ginsburg and his family, as well as a generous way to give back to the Cornell community.

Since Bradley Ginsburg’s suicide, along with two others that occurred in the spring semester of 2010, Cornell has taken major physical steps to prevent future suicide attempts. During Spring Break of that year, the fences were erected on the bridges, with construction on the current, permanent net system beginning in 2012. We applaud the University for taking the necessary steps to try and mitigate the problem with physical improvements following the string of tragedies that took place.

However, we believe that the lawsuit goes beyond physical changes needed on campus and extends to the mental health of all students. Though Howard Ginsburg argued that the University did not take enough precautionary measures to prevent his son’s suicide, since 2010 Cornell has taken great measures to improve its mental health programming. In 2011, over $1 million was donated to Gannett Health Services geared toward alleviating stress, anxiety and other serious mental health issues. In addition, programs like Cornell Minds Matter — an organization that aims to help those suffering from mental illnesses, encourage balanced lifestyles and foster open lines of communication for the entire Cornell community. This extends to initiatives like Counseling and Psychological Services and Let’s Talk, which both provide additional, confidential services to those who are struggling and need a resource. University staff members have also been trained to identify and aid students grappling with mental health problems through the Notice and Respond Program. We at The Sun believe that  to these necessary programs, this scholarship shows Cornell’s additional dedication to its students in light of this tragedy.

We believe that the scholarship was an appropriate measure taken into settling the lawsuit. This scholarship not only promotes pursuing higher education, but also serves as a reminder of the importance of a balanced lifestyle. Lastly, this scholarship is a tribute to Bradley Ginsburg. We encourage the Cornell community to communicate and seek help in times of stress, anxiety and uncertainty.

Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story stated that Howard Ginsburg ’70 argued that the University did take enough precautionary measures, when in fact he argued they did not.

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