October 12, 2006

One Last Word on University Suicide

Good debate going on over at Shrink Rap.

I've posted a few comments there, but in summary: 

Hunter College didn't expel her for being suicidal; they EVICTED her from her DORM for ATTEMPTING suicide.  They wouldn't be allowed to do the former; they are obligated to do the latter, for public safety.

People want to refer to the George Washington University case.  Ok, but let's get our facts straight, from the Superior Court: 

Jordan Nott's roommate jumped out the window OF HIS DORM in April 2004, while Jordan and a friend were trying to break in to save him.  In October 2004, thinking about this, Jordan himself became suicidal but went to the ER instead.


The University suspended him. Well, not exactly:

 in order to be “cleared” to return to the residence hall, the UCC and Community Living and Learning Center (“CLLC”) had to assess Jordan’s “ability to obtain recommended treatment” and ability to “live independently and responsibly.” In order to obtain clearance, Jordan had to set up an appointment with UCC within 48 hours, and develop an agreed-upon treatment plan."


That's not GWU's defense-- that's Jordan's complaint.  That he had to go through that.  Is that so  unreasonable? 


Living in the dorm is a privilege, not a right.  If the University thinks you are a risk AND it doesn't violate constitutional rights, you're gone.  It's not up to them to prove you are a risk; it's up to you to show you aren't. 

And people are angry about GWU and Hunter because it seems that they're just out to minimze their liability?  Yeah, so what?  And it's not just the liability of  student who kills himself.  It's about his effect on public safety.   People say that an OD or jumping out a window doesn't put other students at risk.  Well, clearly Jordan's roommate's suicide had an effect on Jordan-- he admits this himself.  So there's the copycat risk.   And what if Jordan had decided to blow himself up?  Why should anyone in the dorm have to live with that risk?

Again, it's not up to the school to show she's dangerous; it's up to her to show she's not. 


The best line is this one:

If he had known [about the evictions, etc], he said, he never would have gone to the hospital.

So what are you saying?  That he would have simply killed himself? 

1 Comment