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Petition launched following death of UW student

Last Updated Mar 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm EDT

Courtesy of University of Waterloo.

The brother of a University of Waterloo student who took his own life this week is lashing out at the school.

In a statement posted to Reddit, filled with swear words, the 16-year old airs a long list of grievances about how his brother’s death was handled.

There’s now an online petition urging the university to change its approach to mental health.

The University of Waterloo has issued a statement in response.

UW’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Feridun Hamdullahpur, extends condolences to the victim’s family.

The statement includes:

“While the university has significantly increased its focus on student mental health services over the past few years, we know more can be done to increase the awareness and effectiveness of these services so that those who need help can get it.”

The message concludes by encouraging all students to seek help.

In response to the petition the University’s Associate Provost of Students, Chris Read says they welcome the discussion with students,

“We are looking forward to working with any students who want to come forward and have ideas of how we can make our services better and our supports better on campus, students ultimately have the best perspective.”

Read adds they have provided additional support for students affected by the deaths, but also says they are there for the family as well, ” We do everything we can to works with the students family, as much as the university community is dealing with it, we can’t imagine what the family is going through, so we work closely with the family whenever there is a student’s death.”

Meantime, University of Waterloo professor Aimee Morrison also posted a blog about the issue.

“One of the things that we need to recognize, is that our students aren’t just brains on sticks. They don’t just bring their intellect with them. They are human beings in our classrooms, and that some of what we do at school is going to impact them personally,” says Morrison.

The University of Waterloo issued another release Thursday afternoon from President and Vice-Chancellor, Feridun Hamdullahpur.

The new release includes:

“I have met with students and heard from faculty. I anticipate receiving an online petition, and numerous discussions are taking place in traditional and social media. This conversation requires many voices.

We need to provide leadership and find solutions that are specific to Waterloo. Moving forward, we expect to hear more from faculty, staff, alumni and especially students on what more we can do to support people who may be struggling with mental health issues. These efforts are already underway and will need to include input from all of us.”

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