MIT Student Dead After Apparent Suicide

Philip C. Gale, a 19 year-old MIT undergraduate, apparently jumped out of a 15th floor window of an MIT science building shortly after 7:30 p.m. last Friday night. Gale was pronounced dead on arrival at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) at 8:05 p.m.

According to Robert J. Sales, assistant director of the MIT news office, MIT police consider the incident an apparent suicide.

"The case will stay open until the medical examiner signs the death certificate," Sales said. "I don't imagine there is much more to investigate."

Gale is thought to have thrown a chair through the thick plate glass window of the Green Building before he supposedly jumped. Students in East Campus Dormitory across form the Green Building heard the breaking glass.

"I heard the glass break, but people had been smashing glass bottles for a couple of days so I didn't think anything of it," said Brian P. Sniffen, an MIT sophomore.

"Right after that I heard the crash of something hitting the ground," said Sniffen, referring to the object that presumably went through the window. "And then (I heard) the scream that make me look out the window and then I Saw him on the ground," Sniffen said.

"I don't think I will ever forget that scream," Sniffen said.

Sniffen immediately called the MIT Campus Police, as did several other onlookers.

According to Sniffen, two passersby administered CPR in an attempt to resuscitate him, and others gathered around.

Campus Police arrived and continued to administer CPR until an ambulance arrived to take Gale to MGH.

Gale entered MIT at age 15 and subsequently took three semesters off to workin computer science. He worked for the EarthlinkNetwork, an Internet access provider, during histime off, according to Eric Hu, Gale's Phi SigmaKappa brother and former roommate.

Gale also picked up drumming and as part of anew interest in music

Upon his return to MIT. Gale became a musicmajor. He joined the MIT Concert Choir and GamelanGalak Tika, a percussion ensemble that playstraditional Balinese music.

"When I roomed with him, we would talk aboutstarting a band," Hu said.

"He was probably the smartest person I've everinteracted with that closely. He always seemed tobe thinking on another level," Hu said.

According to Hu, Gale had discussed thepossibility of suicide recently.

"He mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. He hadconsidered it and dismissed it," Hu said. "He wasjust bored with life and I guess just depressedthat he was destined to be bored for the rest ofhis life."

Gale was no longer living at the fraternity atthe time of his death, and had moved to anapartment in Central Square with two roommates.

Gale was originally from Charlotte, N.C. Hisfamily practiced Scientology, according to Hu, butGale gave up the religion shortly after his returnto MIT last year, Hu said.

In a statement posted on the MIT Web home page.Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Educationand Student Affairs Robert M. Randolph urgedstudents and other concerned MIT members to seekcounseling.

No information is available at this time abouta memorial service or funeral