News Tidbits 10/08: An Addition to Cornell’s Morbid History

9 10 2008

Okay, I’ll bite, because thirty-six views in the past hour on this blog have been under the search line “death gorge cascadilla october 8”. I don’t tend to be a big supporter of current morbid news, because it’s sort of like slowing down to look at a horrific car accident. That being said, here’s the information being released at this time.


ITHACA — Emergency officials are investigating the death of man who was found in the Cascadilla Creek gorge beneath the College Avenue Bridge Wednesday.

Ithaca Police, Cornell University Police, Ithaca firefighters and Bangs Ambulance personnel responded to the report of a body lying in the gorge at about 2 p.m., the Ithaca Police said. A caller to the Tompkins County 911 Center had said a man had jumped from the bridge, they added.

Officers interviewed witnesses and gathered preliminary details, police said. Ithaca firefighters and Bangs Ambulance personnel removed the body from the gorge and transported it the Cayuga Medical Center morgue, police said. The bridge was closed for about an hour.

Though the investigation is continuing, there are no signs of foul play at this time, police officials said. The man’s name is being withheld pending notification of his family, they added.

For the record, this is not one of the more popular jumping bridges. The bridges on north, particularly Stewart Avenue and Thurston Avenue, are much more popular. I don’t mean that in a good way.

From the Sun:

At about 2:00 p.m., a male body was found at the bottom of Cascadilla Gorge, under the bridge connecting Collegetown to Central Campus. A Cornell Police officer stated that a person allegedly dove head-first into the gorge. Around 2:30, the body of the deceased man was removed on a stretcher and transported to the Cayuga Medical Center Morgue by Bangs Ambulance. The victim has been identified, but his name is being withheld pending notification of the family.

In response to the suicide, the Ithaca Police Department, Cornell Police, Bangs Ambulance and Ithaca Fire Department reported to the scene. They closed the College Avenue Bridge to pedestrians and vehicular traffic for about an hour.

The IPD is still investigating the case and whether or not the victim was a Cornell student. Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 said, “I wouldn’t conclude it was a [Cornell] student. From what I can tell, it doesn’t seem like it was … I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions.”

While this suicide is an isolated incident, incidence of suicide at Cornell is consistent with the national average in higher education, which is 7/100,000 per year, according to Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations for Gannett. The last time an enrolled student died by suicide at Cornell was in 2006, and since 2002, there have been five student deaths due to suicide.

For those upset by the situation and looking to seek counseling, Gannett’s counseling services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “At Cornell, every member of the community has a role to play in expressing concern and providing support for one another, particularly to a student who is hurting,” Dittman stated. She urged students to go to Gannett’s website to obtain information about how to get support, give support to a friend, and connect a student to services.

In addition to counseling, the University has a crisis management team overseeing the situation. “Crisis managers are prepared to meet with students who may have been upset and concerned,” Hubbell said. To get in touch with a crisis manager, students should contact the Cornell Police at 255-1111. With any additional information regarding this case, please contact the IPD at 272-9973.

UPDATE (from WVBR): The body found yesterday in the Cascadilla Creek Gorge under the College Avenue Bridge has been identified as a 1998 Cornell alum. 33 year old Jakub Janecka allegedly dove head first into the gorge sometime before 2:00 pm yesterday. His body was removed from the gorge around 2:30 and brought to the morgue at Cayuga Medical Center. It is not clear why Janecka, a native of Lake Ariel Pennsylvania, was in Ithaca yesterday. The Ithaca Police Department is still investigating the case.


For the record, the last student suicide recorded was that of Ash Thotambilu ’06, a student from the Human Ecology School. That was in May 2006 [1]. Since 1996, there have been 22 recorded student suicides (notably, 15 were those who identified themselves as being of Asian descent) [2].  Since 1990, at least ten suicides have been attributed to the gorges in the Ithaca area.




One response

21 02 2010
Marilyn Babitz

Why do some people think the d eath of Bradley Ginsburg was NOT a suicide
as suggested by some but that he was a victim of foul play due to a
fraternity hazing during rushing week Everyone spoke so highly of him even
at his high school in Boca Raton Florida and no one can believe what has

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