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… runs the headline, but the cause of death of MIT undergraduate Brian Anderson simply hasn’t yet been determined. No foul play, and no clear signs of suicide.

Here are two other possibilities:

Maybe Anderson had an underlying health problem – weak heart, epilepsy. He may have had a condition of which he himself was not aware.

The other possibility that has to be considered is alcohol/drugs.

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One Response to ““MIT Mystery”…”

  1. Mike S. Says:

    UD, are you familiar w/ the name Brett Sokolow?
    Since you blog at insidehighered.com, I assume that the answer is yes.

    We know Cal pays for Brett’s advice. When a 24 year old student recently (2010?) turned up dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his room at the frat house near the Cal campus, the administration insisted – after full investigation – that it was a tragic accident, not a suicide. (The student’s family wasn’t buying that line.)

    Mr. Sokolow’s recent (last fall) advice runs contrary to the US ED OCR ‘Dear Colleague’ letter re: students assessed as suicidal but otherwise not homicidal. The shrinks (and thus OCR) have concluded that suicidal students are better off remaining on campus, b/c kicking them out really wrecks their lives. (Sad that 20+ years of research are needed to validate common sense conclusions, but that’s what you get from clin. psych.)
    Sokolow’s response to the Dear Colleague letter (given publicly as free advice to universities generally) was along the lines of ‘violate the law, kick the suicidal students off campus’.
    It is hard to interpret that view as 1) being in the best interests of students or 2) minimizing universities’ liability. Rather, this appears to be very much about PR. Sokolow gives advice which, when followed, seeks to minimize the chances that students will end their lives on/near campus.

    So the event at MIT currently in the news cycle has to be evaluated with all this other stuff lurking in the background. If MIT gets advice from Mr. Sokolow, or has simply bought into the world view he’s promoting, then what ever MIT says has to be evaluated with the ‘cynical-bullcrap-n-lies-detector’ turned on and scanning on all frequencies. Drug OD will be called accident by MIT/Police even if it wasn’t. I would not put it past the institution to bury or even destroy evidence of suicide given the prevailing winds on campuses generally.
    When exactly did the nation’s institutions of higher learning become places where truth is drowned in the bathtub, or worse, daily?

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