Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s Talk, Cornell. Enough With This ‘Grin and Bear It’ Stuff.

To the Editor:

CW: Mental health, suicide

When I moved to Ithaca as a freshman in fall 2010, Cornell’s response to multiple deaths by suicide the semester before was both swift and controversial, yet undeniable: fences on the bridges. Today? It’s deafening silence. It’s now been two weeks since Gregory Eells, the former Director of Cornell’s Counseling and Psychological Services, died by suicide. Until his departure to the University of Pennsylvania just months ago, Eells spent the past 15 years working intimately with students here in both his capacity as a health care provider to our community and alongside us in our campus governance and advocacy efforts. The Sun’s reporting of this tragedy misses the mark.

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BETTEZ | The Biggest Oversight in the New Mental Health Initiatives

During a conversation this summer with a group of MIT students I met through my Cambridge internship, we stumbled into how both of our schools have issues with mental health services. It was then that I heard about their Student Support Services, abbreviated as all college programs are by its students to “S-cubed.”

From what I could gather from the MIT website and pestering the students I knew, the student service grants extensions on exams, homework or any school assignment that students need, as well as works with them to grant extended leaves. According to students I talked to, one of its most striking features is that they ask very few questions when granting minor extensions and operate under a system of trust — assuming the best of the academic integrity of its students. The questions they do ask are centered on getting a general idea of why the students are calling the support center and ensuring their safety. They are encouraged to call for physical or mental health reasons, like waking up sick the day of an exam, the sudden appearance of a depressive episode, extreme anxiety or even going through a tough breakup with a significant other.

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WANG | On Mental Health

This upcoming weekend, Cornell will host the fourth annual Ivy League Mental Health Conference, where delegates from all the Ivy League schools come together to discuss the state of mental health on our campuses. Considering Ivy League schools recently got slapped with a D or worse by the Ruderman Family Foundation for our leave of absence policies, there’s a sense of urgency in rectifying the mistakes we made. If we’re really among the best schools in the nation, it’s time we act like it. Cornell Minds Matter has been the driving force in organizing the conference, brainstorming, making calls, asking for funding. As a small part of the organization, I’ve gotten a first-hand view of the planning for the conference.

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DEMASSA & DELGADO | Cornellian Summers: Our Flawed Logic of Success

How did we all get to Cornell University? Top grades. A towering G.P.A. Add in a little bit of philanthropy. Insert one or two “exotic” experiences. Throw in a unique talent, bonus points for medal-winning debate, athletics or chess ability.

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KIM | Your Health or That Lecture?

In the calm and quiet lecture halls and auditoriums, coughing fits exploded in 10-minute intervals. The sneezing and sniffles drowned out the professor’s voice. The unscrewing of water bottle caps echoed in my ears. Crumpled tissues overflowed the dorm trash bins. And before I knew it, I, too, was becoming a musician in this symphony.