That’s the response of the dean of students to the suicides of three students in past year at IIT-M.  I wonder how many student suicides would be required for the learned dean to consider the tragedy as statistically important and therefore more significant than the patents registered by the institute.  I don’t know if the dean is a parent.  If he is, would its statistical lack of importance comfort him if his child were to commit suicide?

Yes, I’m appalled by the dean’s “response”.  Is it surprising then that students are reluctant to seek help from the institute’s Guidance and Counselling Unit?  If this is how the dean responds to a tragedy, how can the students expect compassion or empathy when they seek help?

The alarm bells should have gone off last May, (since they didn’t in Oct. 2008 when another M.Tech student ended his life) when R Sandeep became the second student in two years to take his own life.  That should have been the trigger for intensive counselling sessions and training for all – students, faculty and administrators.  Instead, it looks like the institute decided to bury its head in the sand and hope the problem would go away.  Well, it didn’t.  It has continued to stalk the campus.  And will continue to do so until it becomes statistically important.

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