In a letter to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, professors Robert Pollack and Letty Moss-Salentijn claim that both students and faculty are “chronically and deeply depressed” over the election of Donald Trump and blame the uptick in the Ivy League school’s student suicides on the president himself.
“We know no one at Columbia who is not upset, chronically and deeply, since the election,” they wrote of the “distress” on campus. “We know it is true of our students, and the cluster of suicides this month can have no other meaning.”
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They continued by asking President Bollinger to create a “safe space” in which both students and faculty would feel free to share their thoughts and fears.
“Faculty do not have places, times or administrative permission to acknowledge our own fears to each other,” Pollack and Moss-Salentijn wrote. “Venues for such quiet, difficult conversations are very hard to find on our campus. We suggest you consider opening the most visible public spaces on campus for these discussions, stocking them with tables, chairs and assigning them for this purpose when they are otherwise not in use.”
When the conservative-leaning Campus Reform reached out to the professors to ask them directly if they truly believe President Trump is responsible for student suicides, Pollack responded by saying, “We agree with you that we cannot know the cause of the recent spate in [sic] suicides, but even if it has been wholly a coinicdence [sic], it nevertheless has added to what we call the ‘fog’ that has effected [sic] so many of us at this complicated but caring community of faculty, students, and administrators.”
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