12/11/2010 12:54 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Madoff, My Son & NYU

As the mother of a suicide victim, the news of 46 year-old Mark Madoff's apparent suicide by hanging earlier this morning, has left me... I don't exactly know how it has left me, but the predominant feeling is one of sickness and...

Sadness, Sorrow, Nausea... I want to cry.

I vividly remember the news, when it broke (who doesn't), of Bernie Madoff's arrest.

It wasn't long after that that our own financial difficulties forced us into seeing and accepting that we had no choice but to sell our family home.

A debilitating depression crushed me and kept me in bed for weeks. The only contact with the outside world was via email, for I was not up to talking to anyone.
One off-color email from a friend mentioned how at the time of the great depression, stock brokers were jumping to their death and people felt a little sorry for them, while now on the other hand, people were calling for Madoff to jump. She cut & pasted a flyer in the body of the email that read:


When I was better, I went for a walk with my son Andrew, then 19 years old, and asked him whom he thought was better off, Madoff or us.
"Madoff," he said without stopping to ponder the question. "He's got money."
"No, really," he insisted. "You'll see, with all the money he has, his lawyers will get him out of this somehow."

Directly and indirectly, so many of us have suffered as a result of Bernie Madoff's greed. And the ripple effect of the scam is beyond imagination.

I have not written about this before, but I know, I believe, I am convinced that Madoff's ponzi scheme is also responsible for my own son's suicide. The same son I quoted here.

And I tell why: Andrew Williamson-Noble, my son, transferred from Drexel University to NYU in January of 2009, his sophomore year.

We didn't know it then, but NYU had also been affected by Madoff's robbery and one of the cost cutting measures NYU took, was that of reducing their security spending.

Take Bobst, NYU's library for instance, before the cuts, the security detail consisted of one guard patrolling the building and one permanently at the entrance desk.
Post Madoff the security consisted of one guard at the desk and the second one patrolling two buldings instead of one.

When my son entered the library, in the predawn hours of November 3rd. 2009, he was able to go up to the off-bounds tenth floor unimpeded, unchallenged, climb over the Lexan glass, and jump to his death from the same spot where other boys had jumped to their deaths before him.

Had NYU not lost money because of it's investments with Madoff, and had there not been budget cuts as a result, I am convinced that my son would be alive.

And before any of you gets all bent out of shape and start shouting that when someone is determined to die of suicide that someone will find a way, I am going to shout back:


Read the literature and you'll see that with the means taken away, the impulse for suicide evaporates.

So I know where I lay the blame for my son's death!

But Mark Madoff's death by suicide, fills me with sorrow nevetherless.