Rachel Aviv reports on a Princeton undergraduate asked to leave the school following a suicide attempt:
In balancing the rights of students against the need for safety and order, many universities require suicidal students to leave campus. At Yale, Brown, George Washington University, Hunter College, Northwestern, and several other schools, students have protested these policies, by initiating litigation, submitting complaints to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, or writing columns in campus newspapers.
W.P. retained a lawyer, Julia Graff, an attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, who said that she gets calls every month from students who were asked to withdraw after their universities became aware of their mental disorders. “Universities don’t seem to understand that mental-health disabilities are chronic illnesses, and it is not uncommon to have to be briefly hospitalized now and again,” she told me. “It doesn’t mean that you are not competent to be a student.”
Two weeks after being banned from his classes, W.P. appealed Princeton’s decision. In a long letter, he noted that the university prides itself on its diverse student body—he pointed out that his residential college called itself “a place where individuals could be accepted for who they are”—and students with mental disabilities, he wrote, contributed to that diversity. …
W.P.’s private psychiatrist, to whom he’d been referred by Princeton’s health center, submitted a letter that stated that W.P. did not pose a threat to himself. “An important aspect of W.P.’s recovery is a sense of purpose,” the psychiatrist wrote. “Requiring a leave of absence and excluding him from the university community at this time could be detrimental to his health and well-being.”
The appeal was denied.
Previous Dish on the topic here.