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19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Power Metal Dom on Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:02 pm

Ian Sutherland wrote:This is from the above-mentioned BBC article about the cliff fall

"University vice-principal Stephen Magee, said: ... "Alex was in his first year with us studying French and Spanish and also social anthropology. He was a bright and very popular student who was much loved by his family and friends." "

This is from an article about Alex Richardson, who fell through the roof of the DIY shop on south street earlier this year
(http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Fal ... 5118347.jp):

"St Andrews principal Louise Richardson described the Spanish and French student as "bright and very popular, loved by his friends and family"."

Questions:

(1) Are students of French and Spanish called Alex who are bright, very popular, and loved by friends and family somehow more likely to kill themselves by getting drunk and falling, or is it perhaps that somebody in the university press office re-used a statement and forgot to change all the details?

(2) Are all students who die here officially said to be bright, very popular, and loved by their friends and family, or does the university have a different standard form of words for someone who is a bit thick, a loner, has no friends and has been disowned by their family?


I have to admit the same thing went through my head. I knew I'd seen the same sort of thing written before and thought bad of the principal for the copying and pasting. Then, when I thought of what would happen if it was me, I realised they probably write the same standard reply for everyone.

Also, from the Courier article:

Peter Cornall of RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) said cliff edges, darkness and alcohol were a lethal mixture.

<_<
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby jollytiddlywink on Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:19 pm

I should imagine that the University doesn't just make up press releases as it goes along. There will be a format for things, and I suppose that might well extend, in a loose way, to virtually everything that goes to the press, even in such sad circumstances as these.

I can't see why its such a big problem for high-up members of the University administration--the Principal or Vice-Principal--to describe students here as 'bright.' Presumably that is a given, but it is still a nice thing to say. It is also, I would hope, a given that anybody will be loved by their friends and family (even in the worst scenario, when a family might not get along well, any friend somebody has loves them, by definition). Describing everyone as 'very popular' might not always be true, but on the basis that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead, especially the recently departed, I can't see any problem with that, either.

I feel ambivalent about the Uni releasing a formulaic announcement on tragic occasions like this, because part of me feels that a personalised tribute to the student would be the least the University could do in their memory. On the other hand, finding a member of staff who knew the student personally and worked with them for enough time to get to know the student as an individual would likely be painful for the member of staff: having just found out that one of their students is dead, surely the last thing they need is for the Uni to insist that they draft a personalised press statement extolling the particular virtues of that student?

In any case, quibbling over the press release smacks of completely missing the point. A student has died a tragic death. What else is there to say?
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Frank on Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:52 pm

jollytiddlywink wrote: (even in the worst scenario, when a family might not get along well, any friend somebody has loves them, by definition)


I would wonder about the common use of the word friend, there, and the variation of what people think of as love. Still, it's a fair point. Whatever is of respectable value to that person and their acquantances; one assumes the Uni recognise that significance!

jollytiddlywink wrote:
In any case, quibbling over the press release smacks of completely missing the point. A student has died a tragic death. What else is there to say?

Everything, if you're a journalist. Apparently.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... etter.html

EDIT: No, I feel a little silly saying that. Only idiotic journalists seem to have much to say; everyone else seems to be a little flustered by things. They have to be stern and respectful in reviewing it, but I read it that many people are thinking "Why is this even news?"
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Anon. on Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:01 pm

It would be gutting if you were the parent of a soldier who died and the Prime Minister got his name wrong not only when reading it out in Parliament but then also in the letter of condolence he sent you. But the whole thing makes the woman sound like... well, like the sort of person who'd try and make a bit by selling a story to the Sun.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Frank on Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:37 pm

Anon. wrote:It would be gutting if you were the parent of a soldier who died and the Prime Minister got his name wrong not only when reading it out in Parliament but then also in the letter of condolence he sent you. But the whole thing makes the woman sound like... well, like the sort of person who'd try and make a bit by selling a story to the Sun.


Gutting? Absolutely, but news? Bleargh.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby RedCelt69 on Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Frank wrote:
Anon. wrote:It would be gutting if you were the parent of a soldier who died and the Prime Minister got his name wrong not only when reading it out in Parliament but then also in the letter of condolence he sent you. But the whole thing makes the woman sound like... well, like the sort of person who'd try and make a bit by selling a story to the Sun.


Gutting? Absolutely, but news? Bleargh.

She's banging on about it on Newsnight tonight. Slow news night?

She practically sprinted to The Sun with her story... and when she spoke to Brown on the phone, she recorded it (with or without his permission?).
And she sprinted back to The Sun.

I have respect for the sacrifices made by our troops. I have zero respect for a toothless crone banging on about her son being killed in action (and milking it for all its worth*)... after he signed-up to the army to do that job. What next? The mothers of firefighters in Essex haranguing Brown when their son dies putting out a house fire?

* I also blame the media for giving her column-space in their paper. People have different ways of handling grief. Those who take the route of Ms James (sorry - Janes) should be counselled; not encouraged.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby DACrowe on Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:36 am

RedCelt69 wrote:...a toothless crone....


Woah, steady on there. Okay so the criticism might be disproportionate (I was thinking to myself 'well my handwriting is bad enough normally; how would it be if I had no depth perception and was writing on a helicopter?) but she's probably not in the best frame of mind right now. It's the Sun you should be blaming.

That said, I couldn't help but notice that she had an alliterated name. As did the departed. Now she probably married into it, but it seems an unfortunate thing to do when naming a child.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby RedCelt69 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:05 am

DACrowe wrote:
RedCelt69 wrote:...a toothless crone....


Woah, steady on there. Okay so the criticism might be disproportionate (I was thinking to myself 'well my handwriting is bad enough normally; how would it be if I had no depth perception and was writing on a helicopter?) but she's probably not in the best frame of mind right now. It's the Sun you should be blaming.

-.-
Weeeeeeeell... it's ridiculous how much coverage she's been given. And I did blame the Sun.

Gaining a martyr complex just because the letter wasn't perfectly spelled - I mean... that's the sort of thing that happens on internet forums. She seems to have lost sight of the contents of the letter and gone out of her way to be offended. Much as with the phone conversation (which she taped!) with Brown:-
"And he didn't apologise; not once! Well... he said 'sorry' lots of times... but he didn't apologise!" o.o
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Super Jock on Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:57 pm

Unbelievable there is over a thousand St Andrews members of a group wanting more health and safety measures in Britain.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=184624811535
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Haunted on Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:29 pm

"Six people have died in the past seven years as a result of inadequate safety measures around the cliffs at Castle Sands, in St Andrews."

You have to be fucking joking.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby munchingfoo on Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:14 pm

The group is a strange mix of, it seems, four sets of people:

Those that are opposed to extra safety for a multitude of reasons.

Those that would like to build defences such that no fit young adult could scale them. (Alcatraz stylee?)

Those that were friends or acquaintances of one of those that have died and therefore are experts in cliff safety.

Those who have just found the keys to the outrage bus and want to go for a joyride.


Is it too soon to start a reasoned debate here about this? I'd quite like to discuss the arguments for and against increasing safety measures.
I'm not a large water-dwelling mammal Where did you get that preposterous hypothesis? Did Steve
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby CheeseDaddy on Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:36 pm

Purely for curiosity's sake, can anyone remember/be bothered to look up the details of the 6 deaths in the last 7 years? Were they all students? I've been here a while but am struggling to remember previous incidents (didn't someone fall off the wall by the Aquarium a few years back?)
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby munchingfoo on Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:04 pm

Last two (i think):

A safety review was called for after American Matthew Madison, 20, from Bozeman, Montana, who travelled to Scotland for Hogmanay celebrations in 2006 died after plunging from the cliffs during a late-night walk with friends.

In July 2005, Derek Blane, 31, from Johannesburg, South Africa, plunged from the cliff after a night out with friends. Mr Blane had been visiting St Andrews to watch the Open Championship.


neither were St Andrews students, but you know, it makes sense to give a cliff safety lecture to every new student because then these people would never have died.... oh wait...

Can anyone recall an incident involving a woman, or child? Or an older man?
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Delts on Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:50 am

A student fell near the aquarium last academic year but only suffered a broken arm (or was it leg?). I can't remember any students dying from falling of the cliffs in the three years that I was there though ('06-'09). The only one that was falling related that I remember was the guy who fell through the skylight.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby wild_quinine on Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:14 am

munchingfoo wrote:
A safety review was called for after American Matthew Madison, 20, from Bozeman, Montana, who travelled to Scotland for Hogmanay celebrations in 2006 died after plunging from the cliffs during a late-night walk with friends.


Yeah, I spent New Year in St. Andrews once. It was an option.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Power Metal Dom on Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:16 pm

munchingfoo wrote:The group is a strange mix of, it seems, four sets of people:

Those that are opposed to extra safety for a multitude of reasons.

Those that would like to build defences such that no fit young adult could scale them. (Alcatraz stylee?)

Those that were friends or acquaintances of one of those that have died and therefore are experts in cliff safety.

Those who have just found the keys to the outrage bus and want to go for a joyride.


Is it too soon to start a reasoned debate here about this? I'd quite like to discuss the arguments for and against increasing safety measures.


If it can be afforded (the council isn't going to have to cut funding for the deaf-blind-lepers-pre-school or whatever) and if it's sufficient (nothing excessive but simply does the job) to stop people from always falling at a particular place (if it's one specific danger that has been left unfixed), then build safety measures. I don't see where people could be confused on this.
Aren't you all entitled to your half-arsed musings...You've thought about eternity for 25 minutes and think you've come to some interesting conclusions...My kind have harvested the souls of a million peasants and I couldn't give a ha'penny jizz for your internet assembled philosophy
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Haunted on Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:21 pm

There is a fence and a sign that says "danger, cliffs".
The council cannot stop people that choose to ignore the sign and climb over the fence.
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Power Metal Dom on Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:13 pm

Well some have fallen at night so they might not have known a sign was there. Ignoring a sign or being drunk is your own fault but something evidently this dangerous might need something a little more than a sign.
Aren't you all entitled to your half-arsed musings...You've thought about eternity for 25 minutes and think you've come to some interesting conclusions...My kind have harvested the souls of a million peasants and I couldn't give a ha'penny jizz for your internet assembled philosophy
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby munchingfoo on Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:22 pm

Like a fence?
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Re: 19 year old student falls to his death on the scores

Postby Power Metal Dom on Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:19 pm

I'm not familiar with the fence. But if it's very easily scalable by drunks at night then it may need replacing with electrified barbed wire, manned sentry turrets or a mesh of woven lasers.
Aren't you all entitled to your half-arsed musings...You've thought about eternity for 25 minutes and think you've come to some interesting conclusions...My kind have harvested the souls of a million peasants and I couldn't give a ha'penny jizz for your internet assembled philosophy
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