Ithaca is FENCES

Groups and Blogs about the Fences

News Articles Critical of the Suicide Nets/Suicide Fences

Ithaca Times - June 29. 2011 This article has an interview from Ithaca is FENCES and explains that the science does not support placing suicide barriers on the bridges to save lives.

Cornell Daily Sun - February 25, 2011 - Article explains that the science does not support placing barriers on bridges to save lives.

Cornell Daily Sun - February 24, 2011 - Article makes clear that more money (more than the current budget of $20 million) and more suicide fencing is being sought.  Bill Gray City of Ithaca's Superintendent of Public Works questions whether Cornell's plan to put suicide barriers on bridges will work to reduce the suicide rate.  “Why am I going to spend $20 million on the bridges to stop something I can’t stop?” he said, arguing that “as soon as you introduce that element, then the whole argument [for the barriers] grinds to a halt.”

Landscape Architecture - January 11, 2011 - Save Us From Ourselves.  We encourage you to read the well researched article published by Cornell University graduate Daniel Jost. The article is on page 118.  The easiest way to get there is to click on the link then go the search at the bottom center of the page.  Type in ithaca or fences to get to the article.

Cornell Daily Sun - November 22, 2010 - Article discusses the Cornell's willingness to spend $575,000 on fences yet has failed to provide resources to address the mental health needs of it's students.  Note: mental illness and/or substance abuse is the root cause for 90% of deaths by suicide.

Cornell Daily Sun - April 12, 2010-  -Critique of the fences the so-called temporary nature of the fences and the alleged "suicide contagion" -

Kitsch - Spring 2010- Titled: Controversy rages over effectiveness of Cornell's new suicide barriers.  Note from us: the public never wanted these fences from the very beginning.  -

Ithaca Times - August 25, 2010 -

Meta Erza - July 2010 - Cornell Suicide Rate: Still Lower than Average -

Hopkins' Counseling Center Report

"According to data recently compiled for 2004-2005, the Hopkins' Counseling Center expects one student suicide every 1.5 years or an average of 7.7 suicides per 100,000 students -- close to the national average of 7.5 deaths per 100,000 students...Studies indicate that suicide statistics do not follow trends in intensity of college programs or college type. Some Ivy League schools have lower than rumored rates of suicides. Cornell University, for example, reports an average of 5.7 student deaths per 100,000 students every year. Harvard and Duke Universities see 7.4 and 6.1 deaths, respectively, per 100,000 students annually. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports an annual average of 10.2 student deaths, the highest suicide rate in the nation."

Other Articles about the Fences

Most of these articles falsely report that fences are an effective way to reduce suicide rates by preventing people from jumping from bridges.  THIS IS NOT WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS. There is no scientific evidence that fences work to reduce the overall suicide rate.

People hate the fences but are being told they are a necessary evil because they save lives.  That is simply not true.  See the Research Paper section and the New York state Bridge Authority report under Some Facts About Suicide page

Cornell Daily Sun - June 30, 2011

Cornell Alumni Magazine - August 31, 2010

Cornell Chronicle - July 16, 2010 - This article is propaganda about the public support for the fences.  Please note that the meeting was held in July when the students were gone and many people were on vacation -

Other Cornell Daily Sun Articles:

April 9, 2010 -

June 8, 2010 -

September 2, 2010 -

September 21, 2010 -This article mischaracterizes the research and falsely claims that fences reduce suicide rates. It goes further to insult the value of aesthetics in a strange argument that makes no sense to us.  We say: the effect of separating people from nature and beautiful views has not been adequately addressed by Cornell.

November 9, 2010 -
This article contains two quotes from the head designer of the suicide fences that are ridiculous.
"This bridge also features an open grate for sidewalk[,] almost encouraging the view downward,” the report said. “It is also significant that the gorges ‘appear’ to the unsuspecting eye as an excavation, an absolute surprise that is cut out of the relative tame fields of the quads,” the report says.

NOTE: What kind of alarmist nonsense is that? These statements clearly show that the architects are approaching the issue believing that the gorges are dangerous and scary. We believe that there is no way anyone with those attitudes can respect what the gorges mean to the rational people who care about the gorges and choose not to live in fear.

November 22, 2010 -
In this opinion piece the author shows that she does not understand scientific research as she criticizes free speech and calls people who oppose the fences "ignorant".  The author writes:
           "After the amount of information on the effectiveness of physical barriers came out — and witnessing the amount of articles and talks about it     
            everywhere on campus — reading the handwritten messages on the bridge barriers made me angry. My first reaction was not about free speech. In 
            my opinion, the stickers are a lot closer to hate speech. Intolerance toward potentially at-risk individuals makes me angry at how amazingly
            ignorant people can be. Despite the incredibly thorough communication by the University, students and community members of how physical
            barriers deter self-harm, I am surprised that this is still an issue."
It is clear that the author does not know what she is talking about.  If she read the studies she would know that there is no evidence that fences save lives.  The idea that the author calls educated and informed people ignorant is so sad. Unfortunately, the Cornell Daily Sun continues to give press attention to these shallow and uninformed opinions. 

IvyGate March 24, 2010 -
Buzzsawmag  - November 11, 2010 -
This article discusses whether the Ithaca is FENCES stickers are funny or not.  We say: It is our understanding that the Ithaca is FENCES stickers were never intended to be funny.We have been told that the stickers are there to make people think about the fences and whether they are an over reaction by Cornell University and the City of Ithaca. In other words, the sticker protest was to get people’s attention so the community can have a reasonable discussion about whether the fences are necessary at all. The intent behind the newer, equally ugly fences was to make them as invisible as possible. They are not invisible. They are a constant and depressing reminder of suicide. Despite some statements that have been made there is no proof that fences will work. And they are illegal.

WSYR - March 25, 2010 -

New York Times  - March 24, 2010 -

Huffington Post - March 14, 2010 - This article actually suggests that the gorges invite people to jump.  Note from us: That is ridiculous fear mongering. -

USA Today - March 16, 2010 - This article asks if Cornell University is a suicide school. -