Columbia University Center For Bioethics Offers Landmark Symposium On College Student Suicide

March 31, 2005

NEW YORK, NY, March 30, 2005 – – Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students. Four out of five young adults who attempt suicide give clear warning signs that they will do so. Given these troubling statistics, institutions of higher education need to gain a more thorough understanding about the risk factors and conditions that contribute to suicidal behavior among college students and to establish a set of strategies that can be implemented to enhance intervention and ultimately reduce the risk and rate of suicide among college students.

In response to the increased attention concerning student privacy and college student suicide, the Center for Bioethics (CFB) at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute Suicide Intervention Center will sponsor a full day, landmark symposium titled Privacy vs. Protection: The Case of College Student Suicide. The symposium will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2005 and is designed for university officials, educators, bioethicists, clinicians, researchers, students, parents, and all others interested in learning about the issues of privacy and college student suicide. Featured speakers include leading experts Drs. Morton Silverman, Paul Appelbaum, Madelyn Gould, Ann Haas, Barbara Stanley, and Kathleen Boozang, JD, LLM.

This unique symposium will feature the leaders in the field and will offer panels of vital importance regarding the clinical, epidemiological, ethical, and legal perspectives of college student suicide. Valuable information pertaining to the current laws protecting student privacy such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA; also known as the Buckley Act) as well as preventive strategies that universities can implement to safeguard against college student suicide will be presented.

The symposium will address a wide range of issues including:

Where is the line between the parents’ right to know and the student’s right to privacy? The obligation of the University when a student is at risk of self harm? What are the demographics and clinical signs of those at risk? What responsibility do fellow students have when a friend is at risk of self harm? What is the balance between the “best interests” of the student and the “best interests” of the University? Are they in conflict?

The event will be held at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1st Floor Auditorium, 1051 Riverside Drive (near the corner of West 165th Street). For additional information, contact Scott Reiners at, or call (212) 342-0452. Register online at:

Sponsored by an NIH T15 award and the American Federation for Suicide Prevention.

Contact:Scott Reiners (212) 342-0452


Ann Haas, Buckley Act, Floor Auditorium, Kathleen Boozang, LLM, Madelyn Gould, Morton Silverman, Paul Appelbaum