Stairwell Barriers an Option to Deter Further Suicides at San Jose State

Published: December 4, 2006

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The suicide and attempted suicide of two women who jumped off a campus parking garage’s open stairwells have prompted San Jose State University (SJSU) officials to consider constructing barriers around the stairwells.

In September, a woman committed suicide by jumping from an upper level stairwell of the university’s 10th Street, five-story parking garage. A second woman almost died when she too jumped from a stairwell in October. Only four suicide attempts have been made from the parking garage in the last 15 years, but the two closely spaced incidents, which followed the August death of a SJSU student who fell from another parking garage located near the campus, have once again called attention to the issue.

John Skyberg, the university’s associate director of facilities management, said school administrators are considering surrounding the stairwells with steel barriers or wrought iron or chain link fences. The fences would hopefully act as deterrents, he added.

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