Suicide Attempt Prompts Campus Response


We would like to clarify a fact error in this story we published yesterday regarding an ROTC student’s attempted suicide with a firearm. In the story we reported:

“SOU has a strict policy of not allowing guns or other weapons on campus, particularly in the dorms. The exception being cadets of the ROTC who are only allowed firearms if approved by their professor of military science, and even then only for official events not personal use. Other than that the ROTC program strictly follows SOU’s no guns on campus policy.”

This is factually incorrect and unclear, as there is no ROTC exception to the University’s policy regarding weapons on campus. The ROTC program strictly adheres to all SOU policies, including those regarding weapons.

We apologize for the lack of clarity in our report. We have corrected it in the story you now see as follows:


Recently an SOU ROTC student attempted to commit suicide in the campus dorms. The Student in question purchased their firearm off campus and then brought it into the dorms with the intention of ending their own life. Fortunately they were discovered and are now seeking medical attention.

SOU has a strict policy of not allowing guns or other weapons on campus, particularly in the dorms. The ROTC program strictly follows SOU’s no guns on campus policy.

It should be noted that according to a study by the University of Berkeley California, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college aged students, second only to accidents. It is believed that every year 10 percent of college students have made plans to, or attempted suicide, although this number only accounts for reported attempts. It is likely that the number is higher.

“While living in the dorms my freshman year a friend of mine tried to kill herself,” an anonymous student said, “I didn’t really know what to do so I just stayed with her until I could get away and talk to an RA. Luckily they knew what to do and we got her help.”

This is a recurring problem as many students have been placed in this position and have had no idea how to help. It is important that students realize there are options and procedures in place to help a fellow person in need.

First a student must look for warning signs that their friend may be in a crisis. These warning signs can be found on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website.  Director of Counseling, Victor Chang L.P.C., says if a student believes a friend may be having suicidal thoughts, “They should take the concern seriously and not blow it off. They should normalize help-seeking, and speak to their friend about the different kinds of help available such as counseling, medications, family support and academic supports.”  Chang continues to say that the immediate action a student needs to take in helping their friend is to simply ask if something is wrong. It may be an awkward conversation but something as serious as suicide should not be taken lightly. It is also imperative that the student does not try to handle the situation alone, “It is best to involve others- whether that’s other friends, the RA, CPS or APD, calling their parent, calling the Health center, or other crisis resources. Above all, stay calm, convey your caring and concern and take it seriously.”

Some crisis resources being:

  1. 911
  2. Jackson County Mental Health at 541-774-8201
  3. HelpLine 541-779-HELP
  4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

Chang also has some advice for any student who may be having suicidal thoughts themselves, “A student who is experiencing suicidal thoughts should know that they are not alone. Often students/people get this low and think of suicide. The important thing is to get help and not think that they’ll just go away on their own. They can call one of the crisis resources listed or if during business hours, just walk into the SHWC and tell the front desk it’s “urgent” or a “crisis” and you will be seen that day.”

Head of SOU’s ROTC program and Professor of Military Science Lieutenant Colonel Travis Lee, says that their standard procedure for helping a person who may be having suicidal thoughts follows the US military’s ACE Card. Saying “(The ACE Card) is a way to safely de-escalate a situation and create a safe environment. Its a way to reinforce that people care.”

Again it is vitally important that you do not take this kind of crisis lightly. If you see something do something. If you or a friend are having suicidal thoughts just remember that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Their are people available that want to and will help in any way they can.

Anyone who is interested in getting training on suicide intervention should contact Victor Chang at: or by calling 541-552-6813. Remember you can make the difference.