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Higher Ed in the News

Cornell tries to shake image as 'suicide school'

March 17, 2010

The half-dozen suicides in the current academic year mark the first instances of student suicides at Cornell University since 2005. However, after years of trying to shake the image that it's a "suicide school," recent deaths have made it difficult not to associate the upstate New York institution with an above-average suicide rate.

In the last decade, Cornell has tweaked its interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to consider students their parents' dependents, making it possible for administrators to notify parents of lagging grades or mental health problems without a student's consent.

Cornell has also trained more people — including dormitory custodians — to be on the lookout for signs of mental illness, and created a team that meets weekly to discuss students observed by police and administrators to be struggling.

Read more from CNN, USA Today, and The New York Times.

Update March 22, 2010