Pass proposed suicide legislation

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article said a bill was approved by the Virginia legislature that would not allow public colleges and universities to expel or dismiss suicidal students.

All that’s left is for that state’s governor, Tim Kaine, to sign it into law.

This is a positive thing, and more states, including Ohio, should look into passing similar laws.

The Chronicle article said The bill came about after a number of universities were sued by students who had been suspended after attempting suicide or seeking treatment for depression.

After the bill turns into law, “students at public universities could not be ‘penalized or expelled solely for attempting to commit suicide, or seeking mental-health treatment for suicidal thoughts or behaviors,'” as reported by the Chronicle.

Essentially, by suspending or expelling a student who is already suicidal, or who has a form of depression, a university is almost encouraging that person to follow through with his or her ordeal.

If a student already feels like life is not worth living, how’s he or she going to feel when he gets evicted and expelled from a university?

How are those students going to feel when even the university – a place he’s spending thousands of dollars to attend – is refusing to help them?

More importantly, what is that student going to do?

Now, this editorial board does realize that it should not be totally up to the university to provide assistance for troubled students. Also, universities cannot be held accountable for a student’s actions. These are just a couple concerns raised by critics of the legislation.

Rather, it should be those students’ parents and family who seek out the help.

But expelling or penalizing a student certainly won’t help matters. We feel it should be mandatory not to use a student’s suicide attempt as sole grounds for expulsion.

At Kent State, the policy is that suicidal students must seek help from Psychological Services before taking further steps in his or her education, the Stater reported last semester.

Though the university doesn’t have a specific policy, a student is immediately transported to Robinson Memorial Hospital and the Coleman Center to be evaluated after attempting suicide in a residence hall.

Then the student heads to Psychological Services before being allowed to live back in the residence halls.

The Stater article also said if the university decides it is not in the student’s best interest to remain in the dorm, Kent State will ask him or her to leave.

Even before a situation reaches this level, students are able to get free help at the Psychological Clinic on campus.

This editorial board thinks Kent State’s policy on the issue of students and suicide is a good one, and it may be what the Virginia bill is striving for and it is a standard other schools should live up to.

Either way, universities across the nation need to think of the student’s well-being before evicting someone with little-to-no notice.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater.