Silver Chips Online

Reckless abandonment

George Washington University leaves a student in the lurch

By Natasha Prados, Online Managing Editor
March 15, 2006
A depressed sophomore contemplating suicide who checked himself into a George Washington University Hospital was sent a letter by the University's administration stating that his "endangering behavior" could result in his suspension or expulsion unless he withdrew from school, according to a March 10 article published in The Washington Post. In the meantime, Jordan Nott, the student, was barred from the campus.

Nott should be applauded for checking himself into the hospital. Seeking help is very difficult for those with depression and those contemplating suicide, according to Columbia University Health Services. By voluntarily admitting himself to a facility where he could be treated and where he would not be a threat to himself or to others, Nott did the right thing.

Nott was putting a stop to "endangering behavior," not instigating it. Yet instead of being met with support from his school in his time of need, he was met with hostility.

Depression is a medical condition, and with a highly acclaimed medical program, George Washington University has no excuse for the response it gave Nott. Not only did the university threaten Nott for something he could not control and a condition he actively sought treatment for; the institution punished him in a way likely to have a negative effect.

Banning Nott from campus cut him off from a support system of friends and teachers, not to mention his home and a familiar environment. Suspension or expulsion are ludicrous propositions was George Washington seriously considering undermining Nott's education on the basis of a mental condition he has no control over?

Nott's decision to sue the school and the individuals involved is completely justified. George Washington acted irresponsibly and disgracefully. Universities exist to promote higher learning; yet instead of showing compassion and consideration, George Washington is teaching intolerance by example.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/6337