Saturday, October 15, 2005

To: NYU Re: My Balcony

Dear NYU:

I realize that you have created an academic environment that drives students to succeed, to prevail upon the world of academia, and to challenge themselves. It is also clear that in many cases this environment has had an unhealthy affect resulting in extreme emotion, even to unreason. This seems quite contrary to the notions and ideals that are the altruistic goal of university life, and yet it is a fact. In recent years hard times have befallen the students of NYU in the form of unmentionable crimes to self, and as a result extreme safety precautions have been taken. I fully understand and respect the desire to promote the health and protect the well-being of the student population. Here is why I write.

I believe that your efforts at preventing future self-injury by students is in vain. I believe that if a person desires to harm himself he will do so no matter if there is Plexiglas lining the library floors, or if the balcony doors are welded shut. I find it slightly patronizing that the apartment windows are now no longer airable- it is clearly related to the fear of the sting of bad reputation that depression and its results can cause.

I do not mean to minimize the efforts taken, for what can be done but SOMETHING. Yes, something must be done. But closing all doors and windows, and blocking all high places in the city is not possible. I suppose that avoiding litigation is a goal, and this all NYU properties have been soundly sealed. But I fear that this is only having an averse affect- the insulation I find in my blocked balcony door only drives me to want to break through it. Perhaps rather than treating your students as childish know-nothings with no will or way, you should instead consider a more humane approach, a more people friendly institution, a more loving community that is possible if only YOU had a will and way.

In the end, this is not about dealing with depression, but rather it is for me to tell you that I would greatly appreciate it if you would simply de-weld my door so that on the rare and beautiful days such as today I might sit out on the balcony with fresh air and sun on my face and do my homework there, rather than hulled up in the fake-oaked linoleum floor overpriced rooms that you so generously and begrudgingly supply.

Sincerely and hopefully,