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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Suicidal students: What can universities do?

Yale discriminates against students with mental-health issues, according to a lawsuit filed this week, reports William Wan in the Washington Post. Current and former students charge they were pressured to withdraw after suicide attempts or threats; some were withdrawn without their consent.

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) wants federal authorities to ban involuntary medical leaves as "discrimination against students with disabilities and mental health problems," reports Wan.


Stanford was sued in 2018 by students who said they were forced to leave campus after seeking help from depression and suicidal thoughts.


Stanford soccer goalie Katie Meyer killed herself on March 1 after learning she'd face a disciplinary hearing.

Colleges are stressful places. An on-campus suicide is an administrator's nightmare.


A Stanford soccer star killed herself hours after learning she'd be charged with throwing coffee on a male classmate, and now her parents are suing the university, claiming the harsh discipline policy led to her suicide, reports Brittany Shammas in the Washington Post.


Katie Meyer, 22, received an email saying she'd face a disciplinary hearing for "causing a physical injury" to the male student, a football player who'd been accused of kissing a soccer player without her consent. She said the coffee spill was an accident. He hadn't filed a complaint. Somehow, it was reported anyhow. Meyer, who planned to apply to law school, was told a hold was being placed on her degree and she could be expelled, according to court documents.

"The lawsuit comes as college students report suffering higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation," writes Shammas. "At least nine Stanford students have died by suicide since 2019, the complaint said. It argued that the prestigious university’s high-achieving students have perfectionist tendencies that result in heightened pressure and stress."


Colleges are having a hard time recruiting therapists for students in crisis, writes Mark Kreidler on The 74. "Across the country, college students are seeking mental health therapy on campus in droves, part of a 15-year upswing that has spiked during the pandemic. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in December issued a rare public health advisory noting the increasing number of suicide attempts by young people."


7 Comments


Guest
Dec 05, 2022

The student got called on her vigilant activity and was going to have to deal with the consequences of her actions.


So instead of standing up to face her own actions, she bailed on life.


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Guest
Dec 05, 2022

I remember the days when colleges could, and did, ask applicants about their significant physical or psych issues that might affect their college performance. Kids with significant psych issues were either not admitted or admitted on condition that they live with a family member who would be responsible for them. It was not expected, even by families, that they live independently on campus. I knew families who required their kids to live at home and commute to a local college, so they would have family backup. College are not psych facilities and not good places for kids who are so emotionally fragile that they are suicide risks (or present a potential danger to others). No one has a right to…

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Guest
Dec 05, 2022
Replying to

Perhaps I was not clear; “on campus” was meant as any residential arrangement other than with responsible family member(s).

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Guest
Dec 03, 2022

Notice the concern for suicides at Yale and Stanford but not Arizona St or Central Florida? One again, the Washington Post is only concerned about the children to the elites.

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Guest
Dec 05, 2022
Replying to

How can one be under pressure when the only thing harder than getting into Stanford or Yale is flunking out of Stanford or Yale? And wanting the students to leave is a legal liability issue and is probably done by most schools. The only difference is that no one writing for publications like the New York Times has a child at Central Florida or Arizona St.


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