Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Suicide rumors prove untrue

Exams are coming up, and the Internet is down all over campus. You’re panicking. The sparkle has worn off of this semester, and you just can’t focus on school anymore. If you don’t pick up your grades, your scholarship is in jeopardy. Worse yet, your roommate doesn’t seem to care at all. In fact, she keeps giving these little backhanded comments. Could she actually be trying to make you more depressed?

Maybe so. But don’t be too hard on her. She could just be going for straight A’s; at least, that’s what she heard she’d get if you decided to just end it all.

Unfortunately for your misguided roommate, the myth of a UA policy to automatically award a student with A’s – or at least free credit, or final exam opt-outs or something – when his or her roommate commits suicide is as popular as it is bogus, said Mark Nelson, vice president of Student Affairs.

“I’ve been here for 20 years, and that rumor comes up every year,” Nelson said. “But from what I understand from my colleagues around the country, they have the same thing.

“It’s just literally impossible to have a policy for every circumstance,” Nelson said.

Rather than a blanket policy, Nelson said the University approaches such tragedies on a case-to-case basis, a collaborative process between the Counseling Center, the Registrar, the students and their professors. It’s a process that handles anything that disrupts the life of a student, from a death in the family, to chronic depression, to a physical injury.

The University can offer students a medical withdrawal if they suddenly find themselves unable to perform academically. It isn’t free credit, but it means a student can pause their educations and start again later without damaging their GPA.

Wendy Ham, a UA junior majoring in elementary education, will take next semester off because of clinical depression. She found the rumor of a blanket suicide policy disturbing.

“It’s wrong to try and gain a leg up from people’s problems,” she said.

“[Stuff] happens,” Ham added. “If you can’t handle it, you can withdraw, but I don’t think you should just get A’s.”

Even without a medical withdrawal, a student willfully can leave school at any time for any reason and return in a later semester without damage to their GPA, provided the withdrawal is complete, according to Nelson.

“We work with students on all kinds of emergencies,” Nelson said.




More to Discover