“The University is restricting the balconies in two residence halls for health and safety reasons, including the suicides our campus experienced last year. There is research which indicates that restricting the means to taking one’s life - such as restricting access to roofs and balconies - reduces suicide rates. Experts we consulted encouraged us to take this action, and we have followed their advice.
“There is a balance to be maintained, and we are mindful of the possibility that actions we may take may seem to pathologize a student body which is overwhelmingly healthy. We have four student residence halls with balconies; the balconies on two were shut some years ago due to noise and other misbehavior. So, this action involves fewer than 200 rooms in a system with well over 3,000 - a modest inconvenience to a modest number of students that may well prevent a devastating event for a family and the University community.
“The balconies will not be sealed; they will be restricted so they can open four inches, to allow for fresh air. We are moving forward with letting students know now so they can make informed decisions as they choose rooms for next year; the actual work will be done over the summer in order to avoid disrupting students’ day-to-day lives.”
Outside Experts Available to Discuss NYU’s Action
- Phil Satow, head of the Jed Foundation, which was established to combat college suicides: 212-219-9420 or 917-750-2144
- Dr. Richard Keeling, past president of American College Health Association, 646-594-3528
- Dr. Christopher Lucas at the NYU Child Study Center 212-263-2499.