Preventing Suicide on Campus May Mean Fences and Nets as Well as Counseling

Preventing Suicide on Campus May Mean Fences and Nets as Well as Counseling 1

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Bridges on and near Cornell U. are to be fitted with netting (as shown in an artist's rendering), which campus officials hope to have in place by this fall.

The families of students who die by suicide often seek to hold colleges responsible. Lawsuits typically claim that an institution failed to pick up on warning signs or to adequately protect a student whom campus officials knew to be suicidal. Far less often does a legal action cite, say, the absence of fences on a bridge.

But a lawsuit now pending against Cornell University in federal court takes that approach: It argues that the institution didn't do enough to restrict access to a