March 2008, Volume 94, Issue 1|
Finding the Proper Balance: A Look at the Continuing Development of Campus Suicide Policies
94 Va. L. Rev. 197 (2008)
This Note will address the difficulties that university officials have faced in recent years when addressing suicidal students and the mixed signals that have been sent by courts and legislatures regarding a university’s duties toward suicidal students—signals that influence the development of university suicide policies, and ultimately push many colleges toward a conservative, hands-off course
of action. This Note will suggest an alternative model for delineating the legal duties of universities with respect to suicidal students—a model that attempts to balance the privacy and civil rights of the suicidal student, the need for suicidal students to receive proper treatment, and the liability concerns of universities. The model emphasizes the importance of using campus suicide policies to push students toward getting the help and treatment they need to cope with their mental health problems. At the same time, the suggested model would allow university officials to maintain control over determining whether a student is permitted to remain on campus.
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