Columbia student dies in suicide after moving to dorm
The death of a Columbia University freshman who fell Monday night from a 14th-floor dormitory window is being investigated as an apparent suicide, officials said.
Martha Corey-Ochoa, 18, who just moved to her dorm, died in a fall from John Jay Hall at 114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, a school official said.
The college's dean of student affairs, Kevin G. Shollenberger, informed the university community about the student's death in an email.
Freshmen moved into the dorms Sunday and Monday, and orientation activities began Monday.
Students said they observed a moment of silence at an assembly Tuesday morning at the school's Roone Arledge Auditorium.
On the night of the incident, students said they were sitting in the dorm lounge when police came into the building.
"We were up in a lounge and then there were a bunch of cops coming in. I didn't know what was going on," said Greg Cleveland, 18, who moved in Sunday.
The Ivy Leaguers said they were shocked by Corey-Ochoa's death and appreciative of the university's efforts to provide counseling.
"The upperclassmen have come and asked me how we are feeling, and they have told us where to meet counselors," said freshman Yasmine Venabdallah, 18.
Corey-Ochoa was the valedictorian at Dobbs Ferry High School in Westchester. Rebecca Lowey, Corey-Ochoa's high school friend, said she had dinner and ice cream with Corey-Ochoa just four days ago.
"Martha was brilliant. She was truly an intellectual," she said, after visiting with Corey-Ochoa's parents at their home.
Melinda Corey and George Ochoa declined to speak with reporters.