School only starts today at NYU, but sadness has gripped the campus: Two students have died over the past week, most recently yesterday with a 23 year-old film student committing suicide from the roof of the Tisch School of Arts. Yesterday morning, Joann Leavy reportedly ran from her family's apartment on Waverly and Mercer, telling a doorman not to tell her father, to the Tisch building on Broadway, where she took off her clothes and jumped; Leavy's father, sobbing and upset, was later admitted to the street where his daughter's body lay. Leavy's death is being called "an apparent suicide." [The Post also has a photo of workers handling the body bag with Leavy's body.]
The earlier death was that of 18 year-old Spenser Kimbrough, a sophmore drama student, who was taken from his dorm at 80 Lafayette Street to the hospital, where he died. His mother and minister are demanding an investigations due to "inconsistent statements" around the circumstances of his death. The autopsy was inconclusive and the toxicology tests won't be ready for a couple more week.
NYU's spokesperson, John Beckman told the NY Times:
Each [death] involved very different circumstances, but for the N.Y.U. community, and the Tisch School in particular, these two deaths, coming so close together, compound the sense of sorrow we feel and strengthens our resolve to do all we can to insure the well-being of all our students...There's an understandable desire to deduce a single cause or conclude that there is a single phenomenon at work but we are not in a position to say that. Each of these deaths has its own history and motivation and circumstances.
Of course, one can only wonder why there have been so many deaths at NYU: Last year saw six deaths on the NYU campus - most suicide related, one (possibly more) drug-related. Gothamist can only hope that the NYU students there do take advantage of the school's counseling services if they ever feel low; many schools as well as companies have counseling services (check your insurance!) for free with counselors more than happy to listen to you.
Gothamist on the NYU suicides.