March 31st, 2010 | News, University

Berkeley junior dies in N.Y.

No caption.
No caption. Photo by Facebook.

Updated, 11:31 a.m. Berkeley College junior Cameron Dabaghi, an East Asian studies major from Austin, Texas, took his life in New York City on Tuesday, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an e-mail to the College community Wednesday morning.

Rescue workers found Dabaghi on 34th Street after he jumped from the observation deck of the Empire State Building around 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the New York Police Department.

The 34th street side of the Empire State Building was closed off following Cameron Dabaghi's '11 death.
AP Photo
The 34th street side of the Empire State Building was closed off following Cameron Dabaghi's '11 death.

“We are all deeply distressed by this news,” Miller wrote in her e-mail to the College.

Dabaghi’s sister, Andrene Dabaghi ’12, is also a Berkeley student.

A gathering started at 10 this morning in the Berkeley master’s house for students to talk and comfort one another.

Miller said Yale University Health Services counselors will be available to talk with students through the night, and that the Chaplain’s Office in Bingham Hall will be open until 11 p.m. A counselor will also be available in Berkeley Master Marvin Chun’s office today, he said in an e-mail to Berkeley students.

Colin Ross contributed reporting.

  • Walden

    Or you can also call Walden from 8pm-8am every night.

    203-432-TALK.

  • Michigan

    My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  • By California

    Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends also.

  • FailBoat

    RIP Cam. My prayers are with your family and friends.

  • Sam Jackson + Yale PKU

    Cameron, you will be missed by us all. I can’t believe this tragic event has come to pass – it is like a terrible april fools joke. We will carry memories of you always.

  • Yale ’13

    I hope he has found peace in Heaven. My prayers are with his sister, family, and friends.

  • ’12

    I’m deeply sorry Andrene, family, and friends.

  • Concerned ’08

    What the hell is going on at Yale this year?

    Also, no matter how confused or distraught or whatever you must be to kill yourself, it is not okay to do it in a manner in which you are very likely to land on someone else.

  • 2012

    This year is so so sad. I don’t believe anyone died my freshman year, and now we see this year… :( RIP.

  • Mexico

    My prayers go out to Cameron’s friends and family. Thank God he didn’t injure anyone during this terrible event!

  • ROFLCOPTER

    The Lord is my shepherd,
    I shall not want;
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters;
    He restores my soul.
    He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for His name’s sake.

    Even though I walk through the valley
    of the shadow of death,
    I fear no evil;
    for You are with me;
    Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life;
    and I shall dwell in the house of the
    Lord forever.

  • le_aviateur021

    This is truly horrible. My prayers will go out to his family. I am so very sorry.

  • ?

    I thought reporting methods of suicide is generally a journalistic no-no.

    All my love and support to his family and friends, and all my hope that those in mental anguish will reach out to someone rather than choosing to die.

  • Sincere Concern

    My sincere condolences to his family and to the Yale community.

    It is a delicate matter to broach and I apologize if I am overstepping by doing so here, but this and the earlier untimely undergraduate death at Yale make me worry that the campus itself may be dealing with PTSD from the weeks-long horror of Ms Li’s murder first marking period.

    Had I not experienced the symptoms of PTSD myself after being present on a campus where students were murdered, I would not be so bold as to offer this as a possibility for considerationn at this time.

    As a male, I know how tough it was for me to acknowledge that I was experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, especially since I thought the murders had nothing to do with me.

    Such neat logic and compartmentalization are not how the human mind and PTSD work, however. I did not know that at the time and suffered greatly.

    I would encourage anyone who is experiencing very dark feelings about life, to consider the possibility that these feelings have nothing to do with your own strength or weakness of character, but are rather a manifestation of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

    They can be significantly diminished with professional assistance; I assure you of this from personal experience.

    What Yale has experienced this year was a trauma. What is happening now at Yale may be post-trauma-stress.

    Very sincerely,

    Paul Keane
    M.Div.’80

  • Jarring

    Off the Empire State you say? Are you serious? This is like from a horror movie! This has to be the most jarring news this year!

  • please please please

    This is going to be an extremely difficult time for us as a community and as individuals. If you are sad and need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to turn to your friends or your college master. Despite DUH’s uselessness and irresponsibility, there are places you can go for help at Yale.

    You are not, and never will be, alone.

  • Anonymous

    I only met Cameron a few times, but he seemed like a really nice guy. I’m sorry to hear of this news.

  • TC

    Rest in peace, Cameron.

  • Yale Parent

    I saw this on the evening news yesterday. It is tragic that this young man took his life. My thoughts are with his family.

  • Yale ’01

    Such a tragic loss. To anyone who might read this and is contemplating suicide or having suicidal urges, please know that you don’t have to suffer. Yale provides psychiatric counseling services to students. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with a professional about your problems and anxieties. It does get better.

  • Y’14

    I am really sorry to hear about Cameron and wish the best for his family and friends.

  • Anonymous

    RIP Cameron. My thoughts are with your family and friends. Stay strong Yale, this has been a really difficult year.

  • Yale’12

    I feel very sorry for you even if I don’t know you. It is immensely tragic that you should decide to take your life. This could have been avoided in so many ways if anyone had sensed something wrong going on, and how sad that this should happen. You have let go of this world, leaving us to grieve.

  • y’10

    Paul Keane, there are many things I would like to say to you, but I’ll suffice by saying that yes, you are absolutely overstepping. Show some respect.

    Cameron, may you be at peace now. My prayers go to his family and friends; I didn’t know him, but I can only imagine that this is a heartbreaking time for those who did.

  • ’00 Yalie (who works in mental health policy)

    Hopefully a YDNer or other admin is monitoring this comment thread—please, PLEASE review the journalistic guidelines for reporting suicides, *especially* in a college campus setting. While I know this news is at the forefront of many Yalies’ minds right now, this article is breaking many of the universal rules, which were developed to prevent additional suicide deaths.

    Please be a part of the solution, and help prevent a cluster from developing at Yale by adhering to the AFSP’s media rules on reporting suicides.

    (Here are some basic rules developed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center: http://www.sprc.org/library/sreporting.pdf)

  • Y’12

    I am so so so sorry for this loss. Cam was a funny, nice, and sweet guy. My thoughts are with Andrene and her family.
    RIP Cam

  • Anonymous

    “… Cameron Dabaghi, 21, from Austin, Texas, jumped from the 86th floor observation deck Tuesday during evening rush hour. His note said he was sorry and he would be jumping from either the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River in upper Manhattan, or the Empire State building, police said.
    There were seven other people on the observation deck at the same time, and one person tried to talk to the jumper as he climbed over the barrier, but was unsuccessful…”

    (from the Houston Chronicle

  • @#24

    I rarely enjoy PK’s posts, but I actually think that this time he is right. The Le murder was a trauma, and has affected us all. As will this tragedy.

    My love and support to all, especially those who knew and loved this handsome and kind-looking young man.

  • Yale ’11

    I’d like to thank Paul Keane for what he said — it’s important to recognize that many students on campus may be feeling confused and conflicted in the aftermath of many events from this year without recognizing why they are feeling that way. I certainly have felt affected by all of it, and I didn’t personally know any of the students who have died. Though perhaps PTSD is a strong term, Mr. Keane is simply pointing out that, having lost a number of students this year already, we must take care of everyone who is still here. There are many campus resources, from Health Services to peer-to-peer counseling programs to residential college deans and simply friends and family.

    Rest in peace, Cameron. My heart goes out to your friends, family, and everyone else whose life you touched.

  • SY12

    This just proves that they really need to fix the counseling system at Yale. It takes months for depressed kids to get an appointment. I would go as far to say that they need to fire at least five new psychiatrists or psychologists.

  • @ Paul Keane

    Her name was Annie Le. At least get that part correct, please.

  • ugh

    Yo, Paul Keane, her name was Annie Le, not Annie Li.

    Spare us your windbaggery and mass diagnosis and just let us grieve.

  • fw

    How was that dis-respectful?

  • TC ’11

    RIP Cameron.

  • Something is fishy

    Honestly, I think the authorities should make sure that this is not a homicide. A Yale student committing suicide from the Empire State Building? There are so many ways to die, but this way?

  • y’12

    Rest in peace, Cameron. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I wish something could have been done to prevent this.

    Yale needs to put more of an effort into reaching out to students who may be depressed or hurting. From personal experience, I tried to get an appointment at Mental Health and had to wait two months after my initial appointment for a follow-up. That is unacceptable, and for many students, too late.

  • y’09

    I did not know Cameron extremely well (through some Berkeley C Hoops games and some shared flights back to Texas) but he was a great guy. He was always polite and respectful, and had a great sense of humor. This is a real tragedy.

    My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and I hope that he rests in peace now.

  • Apology

    I am willing to accept the criticism of overstepping if my overstepping causes one student to seek help rather than surrender to despair.

    No one knows what is in another’s heart, and disrespectfulness is not in my heart here.

    Old people trying to interpret the world to young people is unwelcome.

    I apologize.

    Paul Keane

  • Mom

    Stay strong Yale kids!

  • Aaron N. Garcia

    My wife & I were married at The Empire State Building & took our wedding photos on the 86th floor observatory deck back on 2/14/10. We were one of 14 couples chosen to get married there. It is so strange to think that the 86th floor brings up so many happy memories for so many people but for this young man, it was the last place he’d ever see. I want to express my condolences to this young man’s family & my prayers go out to them.

  • yalie

    Deepest sympathies to all those affected by this tragedy.

  • Paul Keane

    Paul sounds like he’s looking for compensation. Why else would he go into such detail?
    Paul .. this is about CAMERON. Love you Cam

  • anon

    Nothing that Mr. Keane said was in any way disrespectful. He may be off base with his thoughts on what led Mr. Dabaghi to end his life, but his suggestion that PTSD might be involved and his admonition to those who might be suffering similar to get help do not constitute disrespect.

  • yalie

    suppose he had landed ona baby carriage — it’s one thing to be egomaniacal enough not to cre what happens to your family in the wake of such a selfish act, but to do a potentially homicidal thing like jumping off a city building really is unspeakable — is this how Yale is educating its students nowadays?

  • Y’11

    Rest in peace, Cameron. You certainly left a good mark on this campus during your time here, and you will be missed.

  • yalie

    Terrible that someone feels no other way out of their misery. May his family and friends have the strength to get through this. However jumping off the empire state building there was a chance that he may have ended an innocent, happy person’s life, luckily nothing happened otherwise we would be discussing another aspect of this tragedy.

  • Annonimous

    My memories of Yale Univeristy and life in general in New Haven are of a very powerful and vigorous(?), community. I guess the stress suffered bysome of the students is a hard thing to deal with. I wish that everybody at Yale lives a full and happy life, then, and after graduation.

  • Yale parent

    This news is most, most distressing. Things are never so bad that this step has to be taken. If you are depressed, especially if you have suicidal thoughts, please step back, and get some help. It WILL get better.

    RIP Cameron. My thoughts and prayers are with his sister and family.

  • H’13

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Cameron, his family, and the Yale community. May he rest in peace.

  • mc 08

    i’ll always remember you cam. all the memories. rip.

  • y’12

    I’m so saddened that Cameron had to take his life, but I know that he is in a better place. What a way to go, buddy. RIP. You will be remembered.

  • yale ’11

    I’m so sorry to hear this tragic news. I hope Andrene and her family can find some comfort in the coming months. Rest in Peace.

  • Cam’s friend @ PKU

    I cannot believe the tragedy when received the email forwarded the news.
    It’s terrible.
    The Cameron I knew was so positive and nice.
    May God be with him.

  • Yale ’71

    Shad, we are all walking with you, every miserable, melancholy step of the way. To lose a child–under any circumstances– is pain beyond comprehension.
    Vaya con Dios.

  • Just another mom

    RIP, Kid.

    So sad! I cannot help to wonder what was he thinking when he was in the train by himself, on the elevator to the observing deck…He seemed having a lot of friends. Was there nothing worthy to live for? My heart aches. I feel the pain of his parents. What a polite young man, even an apology for his action, but so not want to live. To all young people, your parents care and love you. You might disappoint them sometimes in life but they do love you not matter what. Please do take care yourself and ask for help if you need it. Life is long; prepare yourself for bumps ahead, lower your expectations may help!

  • @ yalie

    @ yalie (and I hope you aren’t actually one of us) — are you seriously judging this university’s education quality on the way in which a student committed SUICIDE? is that where your mind goes when you hear about a young man’s death? what an incredibly rude, ignorant, and callous statement. please, leave us alone to grieve the loss of one of our own and THINK before you speak!

  • @56

    It is important not to idealize what happened here. We must grieve and show respect, but we must not condone or forget the especially dangerous circumstances of this action. Both in terms of the grief that every suicide brings to many of us that go on, and in terms of the highly public nature of this act which may inspire further suicides (such imitation is well documented). We all remember and love the memory of such a great person, but we must also consider the consequences and try to prevent further action.

  • 2010

    While this death is tragic, I was shocked to see the YDN dedicate almost the entire front page and the entire second page (as well as another full page further in the issue) to the story. This seems irresponsible, and goes against reporting ethics. The YDN should be careful.

  • Alabaster9

    He was the best of us all.

  • Donald

    He put other people’s lives in danger when he performed that little stunt. That’s an unforgivable act. I may have sympathy for his family, but I have no sympathy for him.

  • I Love New Haven

    I grow up in the city where Yale is..It is New Haven, Ct. It is a beautiful city…I have friends and family there. I am very sad to hear this new, it breaks my heart that the family has to deal with their son not being here anymore. Prayers’ and best Wishes’ to the Family, and the City of New Haven. I love you!! ;-)

  • ws

    As an alum (BK), I want to extend my condolences to Cameron’s friends and family. Intelligent people are often depressed. We think too much, ruminating on every little detail about our lives. I’ve suffered from depression my whole life, let me assure the Yale students who are going through their own trauma that it DOES get better. With age comes perspective and the same problems don’t seem that big. More importantly, you find happiness in the small. I still suffer from depression just like when I was a student on campus 20 years ago but now I have a wife and child to live for. If you’re feeling down, please find someone to talk to. It really does get better, I promise you.

  • Yale Mom

    The horror of such an event—it is every parents’ nightmare. The horror for those who knew the young man–suite mates, classmates—looking back for clues–could something have been done?, was something missed—?. I work in mental health and see suicidal patients and as others have said—the decison to reach out and attempt to get help can literally be a life saver. I have seen it happen many times.

    The means of this young man’s death is so disturbing—he was absolutely determined to die—I am so sorry for all who loved him, those who were his friends and for all Yale students who are faced with trying to understanding choosing death over life. You Yale students have had more than your share of facing death this school year. Words seem so empty to express the shock and sadness of this event.

  • Another Mom

    Cameron, I hope you have found peace and contement. I wish your family peace and understanding. I work on 34th street directly across from the Empire State Building and left my office within minutes of the traggedy. My heart sank when I heard and I closed my eyes immediately. All I could think of was how much emotional pain this person had to be in to want to leave this world this way. I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night. I thought about his family and the loss they would soon feel, and the people that he talked to,the ones that he saw on a daily basis, maybe worked with and had small talk with and yet no one knew his pain. I read later that evening that he was only 21 and I cried. I have a 22 year old. My heart feels so very heavy for this young man and his family. I’ve learned from this. We may not always know what someone is feeling. They may not say it, they may not show it. We owe it to family, to friends and even to strangers, to be kind and considerate because we never truly know what is in their hearts or the burden of pain they are carrying regardless of what is painted on their face. Rest in Peace Cameron.

  • @ By Donald

    And Cam wouldn’t have wanted your sympathy either because this tragedy was merely a “little stunt” to you. Have a heart. Seriously.

  • A mom in Colorado

    What a tragic way to escape what must have been an emotionally overwhelming moment. I am so sad that there was no one in that last moment for him to reach out to and hold on to.
    Obviously this young man must have been struggling for a long time – but it was that moment, that one fatal moment, that he couldn’t cope with any longer. He must have had other similar moments but there must have been something that kept him going.
    If he could only have thought about what his life might be like 40, 50, 60 years from now.
    The elderly people I work with – in their 80s and 90s – have always helped me see that now matter how bad things are right now, in this moment, there’s so much life ahead and so much can change. It gives hope.
    I so wish he could have found hope.
    This is an awful way for everyone and anyone to grab at a chance for peace.

  • Thanks to the therapist who saved my life

    I am very sorry for Cameron’s family and friends.
    I too know the depths of despair and what it was like to believe that suicide was the only way to find happiness and peace of mind.
    I didn’t understand in my young 20s, that my life, all 22 years of it,
    did not represent my entire future.

    I am very grateful to the paramedics who didn’t give up, the doctors who had trained for years and years and knew what to do and most especially I am grateful, 30 years later, to the two therapists who saw someone they did not want to lose and who held on to me at the cost of many sleepless nights and many many many phone calls and visits.

    My life has changed so much now and I can’t understand how I ever reached a point of wanting to END my life.
    This one and only life is so meaningful for me.
    I have found so much beauty and happiness.
    I am still friends with everyone involved in saving my life that night.

    Please please please, if you are suicidal reach out to someone. There is always someone who can save you from yourself when you aren’t able to hold on one more moment.
    It’s so hard to find a good therapist, I know that, but don’t throw away your life. Throw out the therapist you don’t click with and try another one, try a friend, try a teacher, try a neighbor, just keep trying until you find that one person who can hold onto you.

    If you are someone being reached out to – hold onto them for life. 30 years from now you might get to see them sledding down a hillside with their children, or playing violin with a symphony orchestra.

  • Just not right

    I can’t believe that only a few short days have passed and already this campus is acting like it never happened. This may just be how people are coping, but it’s driving me crazy.

  • Your honesty is courageous

    At the risk of incurring more critcism,
    I want to speak to Poster #68.

    It is an absolutely necessary part of human nature to turn away from death.

    Robert Frost’s poem “Out! Out!”, about a boy who cuts his hand of in a saw accident, ends with these lines about the family and onlookers:

    “And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.”

    The mind cannot stay in the dark inertia long.

    It is a different matter, I believe, when the death is spectacularly public like the Kent State killings or Mr. Dabaghi’s leap from the Empire State Building.

    One seeks understanding from the anonymous community affected by it: the nation (in the case of Kent State) and the campus in the case of Yale.

    What happened after the Kent State shootings, which I did not recognize at the time, was that NO ONE wanted to talk about it, even my own parents, because it shattered a national fantasy: All is well in America.

    I suspect the same will happen with Yale because the event shatters a campus fantasy: All is well at Yale.

    Beginning the day after the shootings, the subject was a conversation killer.

    The result for myself and many others, was that feelings of grief and anger were repressed because no one helped with the normal “social processings” of grieving.

    I chose politics to expiate my feelings (organizing a movement to achieve a federal grand jury investigation of the shootings) and when those politics were over in 1973, the repressed feelings emerged as anxiety and panic attacks.

    I would urge you not to diminish the honesty of the feelings you express in Post # 68.

    Go with them NOW, not later, and seek someone with whom to process them, someone who does not need to
    “turn to their affairs” but can stay with you in the darkness until it turns to light.

    Paul Keane

  • @ #68

    I really, really agree with you. I think we get so caught up in work and stress here that it’s always easiest — but not best — to turn in from things that hurt us. And we’ve lost so many this year that deaths have lost their gravity.

    I wish that it was easier to talk about this, though — because I have a lot to say, and I want to listen.

  • Anna

    Perhaps this can be an opportunity to reach out to those who have similar feelings to this young man- and don’t think there is any other way out. I am in no way a professional in this matter, but have posted a link below in case someone out there would like to read more about mental health to reach out to a friend, family member, or to just learn more for themselves:

    http://www.nmha.org/

    It would also be great if professionals from Yale, New Haven, and other communities could post additional information and let everyone know what local resources are out there for those who are reading this.

  • Book

    A short book which has saved many from despair: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

    PK

  • y11

    still missing you cam, every day

  • Anonymous

    Why go in such a public and statement making way? I’m still wondering about it.
    Cameron, I wish I knew you so that we could talk about what drove you to this. RIP.

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