On Saturday night, a male Recorded Music student at NYU tragically passed away. Although the NYPD has yet to officially confirm the death as a suicide, Recorded Music students were told last night that the student did “take his own life.”
If you want to discuss this or any other problems that you’re experiencing, please remember that the Wellness Center is available to help 24/7 at 212-443-9999.
Read NYU’s statement after the jump, as well as an account of what the gathering of ReMu students was like last night.
John Beckman, Vice President of Public Affairs, supplied us with an explanation of why no University-wide email went out and offered some important and kind words.
In terms of notifications – we are proceeding with talking with classmates and friends on a face-to-face basis with the involvement of counselors, which we think is the best way to handle conveying this information, and is consistent with the parents’ wishes for this to be treated with the greatest possible degree of privacy and discretion. We hope that, in addition to the guidelines above, you will take the family’s wishes and circumstances into account, too.
It is tragic whenever someone so young dies; every one of us should understand and remember and remind one another that regardless of the difficulty one is facing, however challenging it may seem at the moment, there are people here to help you through.
We want to remind members of the NYU community that we have considerable resources to help, most importantly the availability of 24/7 counseling and support through the Wellness Exchange (212 443 9999, or 999 from any campus phone, or at email@example.com), and that reaching out for help for yourself – or extending a hand to make sure someone else gets help – is a sign of strength.
We are working with the student’s family to support them during this difficult period. I am sure I speak for the entire NYU community when I say that our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family, friends, and loved ones of this young man.
After news of the event started trickling out to the public, Jeff Rabhan, the chair of the Recorded Music program sent out an email calling for all of the program’s students to meet that night at Hemmerdinger Hall. Here’s one student’s account of what that event was like:
NYU has no community. You hear that line so many times it has become rote and stale, but it’s true. In all likelihood, we don’t know you. We haven’t smiled at you, borrowed your pencil, or shared a sideways glance. Our natural state is disunity. Instead, we have little communities–pockets of belonging in a chaotic abyss, like planets swirling in a thousand interacting orbits. Last night, one of those pockets came together, even as it shattered in the wake of a student’s suicide.
The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music listserv lists 146 students enrolled in the program. As programs within NYU go, it is among the most tight-knit and smallest–students come to know each other through contact in the small hallways and collaboration in the facilities of 194 Mercer’s fifth floor. School-wide emails are often addressed to “Remufam,” and closed with “love…” This creates something beyond a school for future pop stars and producers.
The entire staff and student body of the Recorded Music program gathered last night in Silver’s Hemmerdinger Hall to comfort, inform, and sometimes just hug each other in the immediate aftermath of a student’s suicide. The initial mood was shocked–after Dean of Students Jeff Rabhan spoke, the entire room sat in paralyzed silence for what felt like minutes–and broken.
Finally, when the students and staff broke open, the feelings poured out. Staff and students told stories of shock, betrayal, sadness, perseverance, and sometimes pure creative respect. It took a half-hour for anyone to move an inch, but eventually the paralysis broke. Suddenly freshmen were hugging seniors and professors were hugging students–everyone from the student’s closest friends to complete strangers were grasping at shoulders for some kind of connection.
Call it what it is–at Hemmerdinger Hall, there was a community.