UNC Chapel Hill Cancels Classes After 2 Student Deaths

Both are suspected suicides, and university declares a 'wellness' day
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2021 3:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 12, 2021 5:27 AM CDT
UNC Chapel Hill Cancels Classes After 2 Possible Suicides
Stock photo of UNC Chapel Hill.   (Getty Images / LanceKing)

(Newser) – After what may have been its second on-campus suicide in a month, UNC Chapel Hill canceled classes Tuesday. A student was found dead in a residence hall Saturday morning in an incident police are investigating as a suicide, NBC News reports. Last month, a student found dead at Forest Theatre was found to have committed suicide, the Daily Beast reports. Also this weekend, police received a call about an attempted suicide Sunday. "We are in the middle of a mental health crisis, both on our campus and across the nation, and we are aware that college-aged students carry an increased risk of suicide," Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a letter to students announcing Tuesday's classes would be canceled.

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Students were encouraged to use Tuesday as a "wellness day," resting and checking in with each other, and the university also launched the Heels Care Network, a support network and campaign for mental health awareness. But some students criticized the timing: One points out that Tuesday was already set to be University Day, the annual celebration of the school's history, so half of classes had been canceled already: "They chose the easiest solution. What message are you sending to students by refusing to cancel class on Monday?" Students say the school's stressful culture encourages students pushing themselves too hard, that mental health help can be hard to find on campus, and that isolation due to COVID is compounding existing issues. (Read more UNC Chapel Hill stories.)

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