A University of Alberta student is sharing their story after they were kicked out of their residence for attempting suicide. The decision on behalf of the school at the time is being criticized for leaving the student vulnerable and without support. To protect the anonymity of the student, their name has not been disclosed.
It all started back in 2016 during the Fall semester when the then 18-year-old U of A student decided to go through with a suicide attempt. Following the unsuccessful attempt and a second discharge from the local hospital in under a month, an administrator from the university met with him. While the student was under the impression it might be to offer support or guidance, the administrator actually handed him an eviction notice.
According to the school's letter, the eviction was warranted because the student had made a violation when it came to the residence agreement. The violation was in regard to the "resident will not endanger persons or damage property in the premises" rule.
The eviction was from the campus residence that the student was staying in at the time and when he received it he told CBC News he "couldn't believe [he] was being evicted for trying to attempt suicide. [He] hadn't put anyone else in danger."
The eviction letter the student was given didn't just tell the student he could no longer stay in his residence though, it also claimed his actions support a type of example that has "no place in an academic learning environment". The letter starkly contrasts the mental health posters that can be found in hallways across the school's campus.
Half a month after being evicted, the student received a new letter from the same school administrator that said they were reconsidering the eviction. Though the damage had already been done, the student claims that the school had already taken away a "safe space to stay where [he] could try to work this out in [his] head."
The Dean of Students at U of A, André Costopoulos, claims there is no policy that evicts students who cause harm to themselves but wasn't able to comment on this situation specifically. While he did say that the case could have been based on wrong information, beyond Costopoulos, the school hasn't explained themselves at all.
The school's Student Union, on the other hand, has been very vocal about the situation and how the letter was "never justifiable, never acceptable". According to the vice president, Andre Bourgeois, this isn't the first time a situation like this has occurred on campus with there being at least one other known case.
It's clear that the University of Alberta has some explaining to do with their campus community on how they deal with suicide attempts and self-harm. While they may be a dark side of mental health issues, they are a result of mental health issues for many struggling students and if there is anything that isn't going to help them, it's kicking them off campus.
Source: CBC News