‘Josh, we’re sorry’: SU officers respond to student suicide attempt after being moved into empty halls

‘It’s not right that those involved did not step up to support you’

Lancaster University Students’ Union’s (LUSU) Part-Time and Full-Time Officer teams have today released a joint statement discussing the support available for students at the university, following from The Tab Lancaster highlighting one student’s personal struggles with his mental health due to the university moving him from his accommodation to an empty residential building.

Following The Tab Lancaster assisting Josh in telling his story, many students have offered support online, and the story has prompted the elected officers within LUSU to release a joint statement of support for Josh, and pledging that they are “going to do something about this.”

The officers are calling for “an urgent detailed review of the entire system” in light of Josh’s story, with them adding that the university’s support services are being stretched, and that although they have tried to extend the SU’s advice service, this has been limited due to a lack of funding from the university.

The statement from the officer team was signed by every Part-Time and Full-Time elected officer in the SU: “Josh, we’re sorry.

“You should not have had to go through this alone, and it’s not right that those involved did not step up to support you when they should have. “ 

The statement continues: “The saddening reality of the situation is that Josh is not alone, and there have been many more students going through similarly troubling experiences. Students are either falling through the cracks or going into a system where they are being completely ignored despite obvious cries for help.

Our current work behind the scenes to get things done with the University has clearly not been enough, and this is our public call to the University to step up and execute a thorough review of its services that involves student feedback, and ensure this never happens again.”

LUSU President, Oliver Robinson, also released a statement on his official Facebook account surrounding the issue, with Robinson saying: “I want to believe that there has been some sort of misunderstanding, because I really don’t want to believe that a Lancaster student was treated so callously.

“That a member of our community was ‘treated like a criminal’ after a period of extreme distress.

“I don’t think there is though. I told the Uni the the number of referrals falling was not a good thing, a sign of things going well. It was a sign of the system not picking people up.

“Absolute solidarity with you Josh, I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I hope you feel able to return to Lancaster, but if not then please have my best wishes wherever you are. You’ve been totally let down by the University.”

I’m on annual leave, so I’m not meant to be working. But holy hell, this is awful, and it’s not appropriate for me to…

Posted by Oliver Robinson SU on Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Lancaster University responded to Josh’s experience yesterday, they said: “The health and welfare of our students is very important to us, and we employ a dedicated team of experts, including mental health professionals, to help any student who experiences difficulties.“It is the team’s job to make careful and informed assessments and decisions in order to protect and support the welfare of individual students, and others,  working in partnership with the students, college, accommodation and security teams. Where necessary, our practitioners also work with the NHS to ensure all support that is required to ensure student support and safety is in place.

“Due to the pandemic we have been obliged to change some of our usual working practices around student welfare – particularly around changing student accommodation. If a student needs to be moved the needs of other students and compliance with government Covid-19 restriction have to be taken into consideration – this would include a period of self-isolation as required due to rules around households. In such cases, students are provided with food packages and household items in addition to welfare and college support.”

The Full-Time and Part-Time Officers teams’ full statement can be found here.

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