University of Cambridge Launches Review After Five Student Deaths

The University of Cambridge has launched an urgent review after five students died of suicide or suspected suicide within four months of each other.

A coroner has confirmed that one of the deaths was a suicide while the four others were suspected suicides.

An initial review found no links among the first four deaths, one of which occurred in March while three occurred in May.

Homerton College named Daniel Fry, a 20-year-old second-year historian, as the student who died in March.

Cambridgeshire Live identified Yasmin Lajoie, a 34-year-old first-year student of human, social, and political sciences at Hughes Hall as one of the students who died in May.

The fifth death occurred in June after the initial review, prompting a second review that is ongoing.

Professor Graham Virgo, senior pro-vice-chancellor, said in a statement that the university was “shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic deaths.”

“I want to reassure you that the University is taking this extremely seriously and is determined to work closely with our partners to help prevent future deaths,” Virgo said.

According to Virgo, the university has set up a rapid incident response group, involving affected colleges, local public health experts, and the National Health Service.

Virgo added that the university was delivering a “comprehensive set of actions,” including increased investment in the university counseling service.

In a statement, the Cambridge University students’ union criticized the university’s suicide prevention plan, saying that it “protects the colleges from liability in the event of a student death, by minimizing their role in prevention and response” instead of protecting students.

“The new Suicide Safer Strategy is an institutional rejection of the idea that the University is able to prevent student deaths… It is a shameful dereliction of duty,” the students’ union said.

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