Change Chatham University Honor Code to Protect Student Health
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Public Source has published an article exposing the Chatham University Honor Code as potentially harmful to mentally ill students. It interviewed several students fearing or receiving disciplinary action for seeking mental health assistance. The code places mental illness under the same behavioral modification parameters as destruction of property and violence towards others. The language surrounding mental health is important, and all students deserve to feel safe when seeking health treatment. Please sign this petition to:
1. Change the language regarding mental health in the Honor Code.
2. Ensure academic and institutional protections for students seeking mental health treatment.
3. Remove fear invoked by policy and code on university literature and policy.
No student's home on campus or degree completion should be endangered for rightfully seeking treatment for illness, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts.
I am a Chatham alum with a mental illness. Will you stand with me?
- President's Office
To President Finegold:
While we recognize your address to Public Source and the students interviewed by their staff, we want to hold Chatham University accountable for changes in policy and rhetoric. We are aware a task force is reviewing the Honor Code, but this does not guarantee change will occur. The clause in this code on "Violence" terribly stigmatizes mental health and places it in the same disciplinary context as sexual assault and physical violence.
Mental illness is not a choice. Self-harm is not a choice. Suicidal thoughts are not a choice. To suggest they are or that conduct review is required for them demonstrates a sore misunderstanding of student health.
If student health truly is at the forefront of this code, it must change. Reparations need to be made for the students impacted by it, and Chatham needs to demonstrate an awareness of its errors in action and policy.
I, and over 100 other people, ask for thoughtful discourse on and improvement to Chatham's treatment of mental illness. Together, we hold you accountable for ensuring student health- both physical and mental- is protected, properly treated, and never punished.
Adi Bracken, alum
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