2007_09_univhall.jpgA freshman from New York University apparently committed suicide yesterday morning. The student, Allan Oakley Hunter III, jumped from the roof of University Hall, a 15-story dorm at 110 East 14th Street; his body was found in the courtyard. The Washington Square News reports that police were searching his room around 10AM yesterday morning and that his body was removed by 1PM.

Friends told the Washington Square News that Hunter was "introverted but friendly," but recently had been missing classes and seemed more "disheveled." Matthew Margini, a classmate in introductory Italian, said, "He was definitely more absent mentally than usual. He must have been going through something." Daily News reports that, according to other sources, Hunter was sad over a "broken love affair."

The doors to University Hall's roof are alarmed, but it's unclear what the dorm security's response was. Earlier this year, a Hunter College student set off alarms when he tried to get onto a Hunter building's roof, but guards stopped him; 15 minutes later, he gained access to the roof and jumped to his death.

NYU President John Sexton sent an email to the school community, "It is with deep sorrow that I must inform you of the apparent suicide death of a CAS freshman in University Hall early this morning." (Full text of his email after the jump.) In the past few years, a number of NYU students killed themselves, both on-campus and off; two deaths in the Bobst Library atrium prompted NYU to install glass barriers.

Text of NYU President John Sexton's email to the NYU community:

It is with deep sorrow that I must inform you of the apparent suicide death of a CAS freshman in University Hall early this morning. We have reached out to the student’s family and friends and offered our support and sympathies, and I am sure I speak on behalf of us all when I say that the prayers and thoughts of the NYU community are with them.

I have spent virtually my entire life educating young people, drawn to this vocation by the joy of being in the presence of their energy, their vibrancy, and their promise. For me, this vitality, found so pervasively among our students, makes the national phenomenon of youth suicide so incomprehensible; how can it be that despair can so utterly eclipse so patently bright a future, and that such talented individuals can be snatched from us so suddenly, so tragically, and so painfully?

Part of suicide’s pain is the elusiveness of any easy answers. However, notwithstanding the absence of easy answers, some things are very clear: we have a responsibility to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and others around us safe and well. It is sign of strength to reach out when one needs help, and it is a blessing to reach out to another who is in need of help; never hesitate to seek assistance, either on your own behalf or on behalf of someone about whom you are concerned.

We have a comprehensive array of support services available on this campus to help those who are struggling. Our Wellness Exchange operates round-the-clock, with mental health experts available to assist members of the NYU community confidentially and connect them to a web of campus services; you can reach the Wellness Exchange 24/7 at 212-443-9999 or via email at
wellness.exchange@nyu.edu. If this news makes you feel vulnerable, do not hesitate to contact the Wellness Exchange.

In addition, a counselor will be on-site at University Hall until 10:00 pm tonight and from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm tomorrow, or as needed. Walk-in counseling hours at the Student Health Center can be found on-line at www.nyu.edu/999/counseling.

Each of you should know that there are people who care about you, and people who stand ready to help. Each of you is valued. Take care of yourselves, and take care of one another.