Updates from coast-to-coast. Brad Will on Madness Studies, updates from former Icarus intern Neil Gong, and happenings at Evergreen State College in Washington.
Icarus on Campus: Charting the Course
In December 2008, a couple months and a winter break away from when my semester as an Icarus Intern actually began, a brainstorming meeting with our club’s academic advisor Brad Lewis yielded the following concepts. We discussed what “creating a culture” involves; in some ways that would be our mission. The previous semesters in which The Icarus Project slowly seeped into NYU’s student life led to the stage we found ourselves in this past winter. It was time to self-define, to clearly sort out what Campus Icarus meant, what kind of Icarus culture NYU’s community needed most and for which it would make space.
The idea of a suicide contagion is that when a suicide occurs in a community it may encourage other members of that community to commit suicide. A suicide contagion may also be referred to a cluster of suicides. In a report published by the New York State Office of Mental Health in 2004, they discussed the idea of a suicide contagion as a special risk factor for college students. The report said, “College students appear to be particularly susceptible to suicide contagion/imitation. In recent years, a number of suicide clusters, usually involving jumping from heights, have been reported on college campuses. Within New York State, apparent suicide clusters have occurred at Cornell University and New York University.” The cluster of suicides at NYU occurred during the 2003-2004 academic year and was heavily publicized by the media. This episode of a suicide cluster instilled much fear in the NYU administration.
NYU Icarus student organizer and Fountain House intern Montana Queler wrote this theory paper for Steve Duncombe's Cultural Resistance class at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study .