Carleton officials said the university did everything possible for a first-year student found dead in the Rideau River Sunday.
Nadia Kajouji had been seeing a campus counsellor and taking antidepressants before her March 9 disappearance and — despite reports that the 18-year-old public affairs and policy student had cut herself with razors and had publicly threatened to hurt herself — the university did not inform her family of her behaviour.
Kajouji’s family has said the university didn’t do enough, but yesterday Suzanne Blanchard, associate vice-president of student services at Carleton, said, “we feel we did everything we could for her in that situation.”
When asked at a press conference held at the university why the school didn’t inform Kajouji’s parents, Blanchard said, “all universities have to abide by privacy and confidentiality laws.”
The only time the school can inform parents is in crisis situations, such as one that involves police, she said.
“There is a way that students can give us permission to involve their parents,” she said. Asked if Kajouji had done so, the school declined to answer.
The campus is in mourning after Kajouji’s body was found in the river near St. Paul’s University Sunday.
“The Carleton community has been thinking about Nadia every day since this happened,” said Blanchard. “We’re saddened by the loss of Nadia and what her family has to go through.”
“It’s affected everyone, even people who didn’t know Nadia,” said Tom Sherwood, the ecumenical chaplain at Carleton University. “The students identify with a cohort who suffered from stress and the teachers identify as parents,” he said.
Carleton is the only campus in Canada to have psychiatrists on campus two days a week, Blanchard said.
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