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'Everyone was so visibly saddened and distraught': Tales from students at OSU

A student in crisis set fire to his dorm room and jumped out a 5th floor window Tuesday as a SWAT team forced entry to his room. A tree helped break the 25-year-old Oregon State University student's fall. He is stable at a local hospital and being evaluated by mental health professionals, officials said. (SBG)

CORVALLIS, Ore. - What started out as a welfare check at Oregon State University yesterday turned into a ten hour crisis negotiation.

Last night a student jumped out of his fifth story dorm room window.

Today students say they are shaken.

Aaron Satyanarayana,, a freshman at OSU who lives in the dorms, says around 10 p.m. his friend came up to him, "she's extremely distraught and she says, I saw him jump."

It was an incident that especially affected students living in the dorms.

"Our whole hall was just coming together and congregating in our lounge spaces and in rooms and people were talking about it and everyone was so visibly saddened and distraught by what had happened," said freshman Alden Sova.

This comes after a 25-year-old student displaying emotional distress barricaded himself in his fifth story dorm room at Hawley Hall.

According to Chief of Public Safety at OSU, Suzy Tannenbaum, they knew of the student and decided to conduct a welfare check, "They were able to at least start having a conversation through the door with him."

Crisis negotiators with the University as well as Benton County tried talking with the student for several hours.

Around 10p.m. last night, officials say the student set a small fire in his dorm room before leaping out the window. He hit a tree on the way down. "And actually the tree I believe saved his life," says Tannenbaum.

During the ordeal, the sprinkler system went off, students had to evacuate the dorm and find other places to stay for the night.

Senior Nicole Faris offered up her place, "so I had about four freshman stay at my house off campus, I don't know if they felt unsafe but at least they felt a little bit more comfortable."

A sobering reminder for some students. "When there is an instance or a crisis and has a mental health crisis, it really gets down in you and you realize that mental health is an important part of student life," says Satyanarayana.

University officials say the student is being evaluated by mental health professional. According to OSU spokesperson Steve Clark, the sprinklers that went off in the building created water damage. That water damage is being assessed right now.

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