Issue 05 – November- 4th
“Harry Armstrong Evans was a student at Exeter University when he killed himself. The coroner at his inquest criticised the university for not responding to his ‘cry for help’. He had sent an email about his poor state of mind after bad exam results, but no one from the university ever spoke to him about this or replied substantively to an anxious voicemail from his mother. Harry’s parents complain that universities do not have a duty of care towards their students. Troubled students fall through this gap. Since the age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18 half a century ago, universities have not been in loco parentis, so they have become careless about students. At the same time, parents have no right to know anything about their student children because they are, in law, adults. Their child could be in utter despair and yet the university (if it knew, which it often does not) could tell them nothing without the child’s consent. Many students, especially those leaving home for the first time, are much more like children than adults. For their own sake, parliament should recognise this and give all full-time students under 21 the status of children”.