To the Editor:
Re: “University Installs Fences on Campus Bridges,” News, March 24
I was very disappointed in the administration’s decision to erect the chain link fences on the bridges. While I completely understand the need for preventative measures to make the bridges safer, I wonder why the guard posts could not be maintained until the “more permanent” solution was reached. Guards gave a humanizing aspect to the prevention efforts. They offered smiling faces and a caring feeling on the bridges, which comforted me when crossing the gorges. Now, the University is only adding to the unease and feeding the “suicide stereotype” by constructing menacing, physical barriers that look like the grounds of an insane asylum.
The beauty of the gorges could have been a healing aspect for the college community; but now the campus has been destroyed and students will have a constant visual reminder of the tragedies of the past month. It will be much harder to heal when we see “suicide barriers” multiple times a day. I also cannot even begin to imagine what will go through visitors’ minds when they see a campus that now looks more like a prison than the home to thriving and happy students. I realize that research proves that fences prevent bridge suicides, but what about the detrimental effect it will have on the students’ moods? I hope that the University listens to its students and replaces the fences with a healthier prevention option, such as the human guards. Cornell is an amazing school and community, but the fences take away everything for which this university stands.
Julianne Lapsa ’11