Presenters: Paul Grossman, J.D., Hasting College of Law & Retired Chief Regional Attorney, Office of Civil Rights and Richard Yao, Ph.D., California State University Channel Islands
The number of postsecondary students who commit suicide each year has been estimated at 1,000, with many more attempts and self-injurious acts. With a greater presence on campus of students who report experiencing high levels of depression and anxiety, the prevalence of suicide among veterans, and increasing enrollment of students who identify with psychiatric conditions, this number is not likely to decrease. Many colleges and universities mandate medical leave, long-term suspension, or permanent dismissal of students who survive a suicide attempt or engage in significant self-injurious behavior. These responses, frequently taken to avoid liability, are often not in the student’s best interest and are likely to violate disability antidiscrimination laws, including the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Fortunately, there are other ways of responding to suicide attempts and other types of self-injurious behaviors that are both lawful and in students’ best interest.
We will cover legal, prophylactic, and therapeutic practices in working with students who present with self-injurious behaviors and/or psychiatric disabilities on college campuses. We will address the complexity involved with providing institutional support and the promotion of student success while addressing misconduct and threats through student conduct procedures calculated to comply with federal disability laws.