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Hofstra Myths Debunked: High-Rise Suicide?

By Rachel Lutz, Assistant Editorial Editor

There's a rumor on campus that students don't take as lightly as the others, for it is no joking matter. It's one that we wanted to take a closer look at nonetheless. Rumor has it that a male student jumped off one of the towers with the intention of taking his own life, and did not succeed. So, after his attempt, he tried again a second time, and his objective was met.

"It's a fact," says John O'Malley, Assistant Director of Public Safety, "but it's not current. It happened 10 or 12 years ago, maybe longer."

On Sunday, October 3, 1993 at approximately 8:20 a.m., 23-year-old junior graphic design major Shinya Tomioka jumped from an Alliance Hall fourth floor window, which only opens about six inches to prevent mishaps. After this failed attempt, he went to the twelfth floor lounge to attempt again.

There was no evidence that Tomioka was using drugs at the time, and there was no note left behind stating his reason for deciding to take his own life. It was reported that he was in advisement meetings the week prior, planning a schedule for the next semester. Tomioka was a 1988 Uniondale High School graduate, who spent time with his family in Japan until he began his Hofstra education in 1991.

The incident was thoroughly investigated, but no new information came from the reports.

The balconies were not sealed because of this incident. On the contrary, they were always sealed. There were no new policies or procedures that came from this incident.

The Chronicle's editorial, "A sad loss and a lesson," reflected on the loss of their peer, but sparked even more controversy. The Chronicle made the point that suicice is the wrong choice for people so young because "things change" and can always get better.

They concluded the editorial saying that "Shinya will be missed and remembered, but at the same time we must remember him as someone who, because of whatever circumstances, hurt everyone he ever knew by taking a human life – his own."

Two Letters to the Editor were sent in concerning the tactfulness in which The Chronicle covered the article. Senior Matthew Burkhardt stated that the article "downplayed the psychological condition of those who contemplate suicide."

Junior Jennifer Dluhos also shared her thoughts on how The Chronicle covered the issue. "Suicide, as you say, is a ‘sad and confusing event.' However, it is only further confused when a newspaper, instead of discussing the subject in a straightforward, responsible journalistic manner, decides to judge a person it probably does not know."

 

The rumored Alliance Hall suicide is indeed true. (Laura Molinari/The Chronicle)

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