As most first-year students at Columbia University started moving in yesterday, the occasion was darkened by the death of 18-year-old freshman Martha Corey-Ochoa. She seems to have jumped from the dormitory John Jay Hall last night, the Columbia Spectator reports, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Early reporting from the Post said the incident was being treated as “an apparent accident,” although DNAinfo and the Daily News disagree, citing her history of psychiatric illness. The investigation is ongoing.
Corey-Ochoa graduated as valedictorian from Dobbs Ferry High School, north of the city, and was “passionate about mathematics and literature, and recognized as a very talented writer,” according to an e-mail sent to students by a university dean. “It’s a time that our community needs to pull together and support one another,” he wrote. “Our returning students should keep in mind our first-year students have just gotten here, and they are developing contacts and relationships and should be sensitive and reach out to one another.”