Letters to the Editor

UCI Student’s Suicide Ignored

I am writing with some reactions I had to three pieces in the New University of April 30, namely Anam Siddiq’s front-page article on UC Irvine’s vigil for the Virginia Tech community members who died on April 16, their families, and the survivors; Emilie Doolittle’s article on under-funded counseling services at UCI; and Philip Grant’s open letter to Chancellor Michael V. Drake on his message to the UCI community in response to the Virginia Tech events.

Grant asks why the chancellor would send a message about 32 dead in Virginia, instead of any number of dead on a given day in Iraq. There is probably no answer, or too many, to that question. I have a different question: Why have the murders of 31 and the suicide of another on a campus in Virginia warranted a campus-wide message and vigil, while the March 30 suicide death by gunshot in a social sciences stairwell of a member of UCI’s own student body goes unmentioned, save a lede in the OC Register and a similar one at the beginning of Doolittle’s article?

Did this student’s life mean less than any one of the victims at Virginia Tech? Does the proximity of his death, and his membership in our UCI community, before we get to questions of ‘our nation,’ as Grant mentions, not make the event of his suicide perhaps more important, in terms of a public announcement and vigil? We were called upon to cope openly with the Virginia tragedy; is there no need to cope with the death of a fourth-year undergraduate who must have had human connections here