NMU students protest peer suspension over survey

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 9:09 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - “Mental Health Matters”-a saying shouted by NMU students this morning outside Jamrich Hall.

The demonstration was in protest of student Dominick Dotson’s suspension, he had emailed a survey asking peers for feedback on the mental health resources available at NMU.

“He was promptly suspended, the survey was ended and he lost his campus email and there’s no way to reach out to him unless you know him,” said protest organizer Rose Mouradian.

The survey was sent following an NMU student’s death by suicide on campus last Sunday.

“We felt as though the university was giving us another slap to the face as if they were taking away another resource we were given, a way to talk about our mental health,” Mouradian said.

NMU, however, said Dotson was suspended because the survey sent out may have been a violation of policies on campus.

“All universities has an Institutional Review Board or IRB and they approve any research surveys that go out. A faculty member or student, staff member has to go through certain protocol to get things approved,” said Derek Hall, NMU spokesperson.

Hall also says the university has many mental health resources.

“We offer full-time counseling during the day, it’s busy, there’s a lot of students receiving help. We have after hours of phone availability which has a live, trained person,” Hall said.

However, Mouradian says Friday’s protesters hope to inspire change at the university.

“We want to see more on-campus therapists, we want better than just online therapy, we want people qualified to discuss trauma, we want people to discuss more about sexual assault that happens on campus. It can’t just be about counseling,” said Mouradian.

Ryann Burke is a social work major, she protested today, wanting to help those in crisis.

“We’re taught that crises intervention and speak and talking about mental health in a timely manner is important for people who are experiencing 1st 2nd and 3rd hand trauma in situations and traumatic events such as these,” said Burke.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis you can call the National Mental Health Hotline at 866-903-3787.

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