Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,


As difficult as yesterday's memorial service was for me, I know it was much more difficult for a lot of others. I've still got quite a bit to process, and I want to do some deeper writing about it, but there are two (related) areas of focus for me at this point.

1) It's a tragic coincidence that my friend Rahadyan's younger brother Danny died in a tragic gorge swimming accident 25 years ago this summer, and my friend Gabriel's younger brother Nate died in a tragic gorge swimming accident this summer. Rahadyan came and spoke, quite movingly, at Nate's memorial yesterday.

2) It's painfully clear that this isn't a new problem. This summer's seemingly unusual spate of tragic gorge deaths is drawing new attention to a longstanding problem, one about which Nate's parents gave an impassioned plea yesterday that the University do something. They don't want their son to have to come back to campus in 25 years to speak at another student's memorial service.

This has to be, at its core, a problem of inadequate information. Generations of students have hiked and waded and swum in the gorges without any feel for how dangerous it can be. This is partly the general adolescent or twentysomething feeling of immortality and invincibility, of course, and that's nearly impossible to change, but I think we as a community are also failing to adequately inform. Would better signage help? Education tied to Cornell's required swim tests? Clearer communications to students at other times? I'm not sure, but I know we need to try something.

More later.

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