Cornell U sued over failing to restrict access to means of suicide

March 29, 2012

A lawsuit pending against New York-based Cornell University argues that the institution did not do enough to restrict access to a particular means of suicide. A father claims that Cornell U was negligent for not having set up barriers on the campus bridge where his son jumped to his death in February 2010. Limiting access to particular methods of suicide, a strategy known as means restriction, has been gaining traction among mental-health researchers, but it has not taken hold on most campuses, where counselling and education tend to be the focal point of suicide-prevention efforts. Only a few schools, mainly where students' suicides have made headlines in recent years, have officials acted to significantly alter physical aspects of the campus for the sake of prevention. "Vigorously" fighting the suit, Cornell U already put up fences on its bridges, in March 2010, and plans to install nets underneath them. University officials argue that even though they are now introducing means restriction, they were under no legal obligation to do so. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)