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Tech Fails to Report On Suicide Properly

I was quite disturbed by The Tech’s treatment of the unfortunate suicide of Lucy D. Crespo Da Silva ’00 [“Student Ends Life in Jump from Dorm,” Nov. 21]. I am new to the MIT community and have heard and read about the many suicides that have been committed by MIT students. I am appalled by the number of suicides, and I feel each should be treated with a great deal of respect and care. I am saddened that this story was described in an excessively brief article, put with equal importance next to a photo of The Sorcerer and adjoining a larger article on students’ and staff’s Thanksgiving plans. I had never met Da Silva, and would have liked to learn more about her. Any student at MIT is unique and deserves at least a full-page article devoted to his or her life.

In addition, many related issues were omitted from this article. More information should have been included regarding warning signs of suicide, not only specific to Da Silva’s case (in the article, only one sentence addressed this issue in describing that “friends expressed their surprise” at the event). It is important to be able to detect and help potential suicide victims by directing them to the appropriate resources.

Another point of contention is the apparent treatment of suicides at MIT. The solution is not to patronize students for not using counselling services when they feel stressed. Seeking counselling can be humbling and is a big step for some students to take, and many feel intimidated or embarrassed in getting help. Although counselling is indeed important, perhaps MIT should focus instead on why many students feel intense pressures which lead them to such drastic actions.

Suicide seems to be an immediately pressing problem. Any student at MIT deserves far more respect and attention, and more resources should be available for dealing with suicide. The Tech reaches a large audience and should treat this issue with great importance, regardless of the negative press it may generate for the school.

Rebecca Reich G