ITHACA — The father of a Cornell University freshman who jumped to his death in a gorge on the Ivy League campus is suing the school and the city of Ithaca for $168 million in damages.
Howard Ginsburg, of Boca Raton, Fla., contends in a federal lawsuit filed this week that school and city officials knew the bridges over Fall Creek in the upstate New York city were a danger but didn't take adequate steps to make them safe.
The body of his son, Bradley, an 18-year-old economics major, was recovered Feb. 17, 2010, a day after his roommate reported him missing.
Cornell told the Ithaca Journal (http://ithacajr.nl/t0VAbu) it had no comment but expects the lawsuit to be dismissed.
Ithaca's attorney Dan Hoffman told the newspaper he doesn't believe the city was responsible for the tragedy.
The steep, rocky gorges bounding Cornell, at least 100 feet deep in some places, add to the beauty of the campus in the Finger Lakes region. But they also have figured into student suicides.
While haunted by a reputation for suicide, Cornell maintains its suicide rate over time is normal for colleges.
Weeks after Bradley Ginsburg's death, two more undergrads plunged to their deaths on successive days — sophomore William Sinclair, 19, of Chevy Chase, Md., and Matthew Zika, 21, a junior from Lafayette, Ind.
Cornell took the extraordinary step of dispatching staff lookouts to the six bridges on campus and going door-to-door to check on students. The outreach effort includes counseling and a coordinated series of assuring messages from the university president on down to professors, who were encouraged tell the students to keep academics in perspective.
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