NMU students protest colleagues’ suspension for poll

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – “Mental Health Matters” – a saying shouted by NMU students outside Jamrich Hall this morning.

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

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

The survey was sent out after an NMU student committed suicide on campus last Sunday.

“We felt like the university was giving us another slap in the face, like they were taking away another resource we’ve been given, a way to talk about our mental health.”

However, NMU says Dotson was suspended because the survey it sent out may have violated campus policies.

“All universities have an Institutional Review Board or IRB and they approve all research surveys that are published. A faculty member or student, a staff member has to go through a certain protocol to get things approved,” said Derek Hall, spokesman for NMU.

Hall also says the university has many mental health resources.

“We offer full-time counseling during the day, it’s busy, there are a lot of students getting help. We have after-hours telephone availability that a live, trained individual has.”

But Mouradian says today’s protesters hope to inspire change at the university.

“We want to see more therapists on campus, we want more than just online therapy, we want people who are qualified to discuss trauma, we want people to discuss more about sexual assault happening on campus. It can’t just be about advice,” Mouradian said.

Ryann Burke is a social worker major, she protested today and wanted to help people in crisis.

“We were taught that crisis intervention and timely speaking and talking about mental health are important for people experiencing 1st, 2nd and 3rd hand trauma in situations and traumatic events like these,” Burke said.

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

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