University to keep central record of student deaths for the first time

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Cn: Death or Dying

The University will keep a record of the number and causes of student deaths for the first time, beginning with those that had occurred in the 2017 calendar year. The decision was approved by the Senior Tutor’s Committee (STC), following a proposal by the University’s Student Health and Wellbeing Committee.

The issue was first brought to the Committee’s attention at the 13 November 2017 meeting of its Standing Committee on Welfare and Finance, where Secretary Dr Mark Wormald reported the Student Health and Wellbeing Committee’s proposal.

According to the minutes from the meeting, the Student Health and Wellbeing Committee suggested that the number of and reasons for student deaths each year should be recorded by the colleges, and then reported to the Secretariat via Senior Tutors. The Secretariat would then relay the information to the Student Health and Wellbeing Committee.

It was suggested that this would allow the University to “retain oversight of any trends and patterns emerging; particularly insofar as they pertained to matters of student health and wellbeing”. It was also recommended that relevant representatives across the University, including the STC’s Secretary, Senior Tutors, Graduate Tutors, and College Nurses, should receive the information in order to monitor student welfare.

It was noted at the Standing Committee’s next meeting on 29 January that the STC had approved this recommendation. The STC’s Secretariat would not, however, identify individual students or their College when reporting the number of and reasons for student deaths to the University’s Health and Wellbeing Committee.

Minutes from the Standing Committee’s next meeting on 9 February indicate that Secretary Dr Wormald had asked Senior Tutors to provide him with the total number of deaths that had occurred within each College, as well as the student’s level of study and cause of death, by email on or before 9 February. 

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