While colleges are free to remove students from campus if they present a realistic threat to harm other people, it's less clear what they can -- or should -- do when a student's only danger is to himself.The U.S.
A Western Michigan University undergraduate says he was thrown out of school and banned from college premises after being hospitalized for clinical depression.Jackson Peebles told the Western Herald that, even after his own physician gave him a note clearing him to return to school, WMU initially refused to readmit him, alleging he violated a student conduct code against "[c]ausing physical harm to self or others," although he neither attempted suicide nor threatened anyone else.
When a student seeks help for suicidal thoughts, some colleges provide supportive counseling -- and others hustle the student to the door. These "mandatory withdrawal" policies are questionably legal under federal disability law, but students rarely are aware they exist. Inquisitive journalism can make a life-saving difference.