University asks new students to sign suicide disclaimer

Updated: 2013-09-17 08:17

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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A university in Guangdong province asked freshmen to sign a contract on Sunday to hold themselves responsible for suicide and injury.

Under the contract, the students have to bear all responsibility and any consequences if they commit suicide or injure themselves on campus while they are attending the university.

More than 5,000 freshmen at City College of Dongguan University of Technology signed the suicide disclaimer contract when they registered for school.

Local media reported that the contract came after a male student stabbed and injured a female schoolmate in a university dormitory after she refused to be his girlfriend last school term.

But a college official, who would not disclose details of the case, denied the contract has anything to do with the stabbing.

The contract is just the "dormitory code of conduct", the official said.

By having the students sign the contract, the college expects they will abide by the school's rules and take care of themselves, he said.

On Sunday, some of the freshmen said they can understand the school's decision, because many suicide and self-injury cases nowadays have nothing to do with study pressure, but occur in relation to love affairs, employment pressure, family background and interpersonal problems.

Still, many parents see the contract as a way for the college to shun responsibility.

A father, who didn't want to be named, said he sent his child to the university because he trusted it would ensure a safe environment for students.

"The university shouldn't pass the buck when things happen on campus," he said.

Xiong Bingqi, vice-director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said it's "a simple and rough management" measure to ask students to sign a suicide disclaimer contract.

Xiong urged universities and colleges to pay more attention to improving the living and study environment for students to prevent such cases from happening.

(China Daily USA 09/17/2013 page6)