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Mental health matters. We should act like it.

<h5>The entrance to 48 University Pl., which houses The Daily Princetonian’s newsroom.</h5>
<h6>Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
The entrance to 48 University Pl., which houses The Daily Princetonian’s newsroom.
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

Editor’s Note: This piece includes references to suicide that some readers may find distressing.

Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum, a first-year at Yale, died by suicide this week.

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Earlier this month, our Asian and Asian American communities felt the sting of the Atlanta shootings, compounding on increased anti-Asian violence and discrimination.

For many students, the shooting of 10 people in Colorado hit dangerously close to home.

The pandemic has held us in a state of ambiguous loss, and we are unable to properly mourn as we remain in the midst of uncertainty. With compacted semesters and clipped breaks, students lack time to process and mourn personal losses. Recent events — particularly for students of color — punctuate emotional exhaustion with a deeper pain.

I don’t need to say that this year is different for students, for professors, for staff — we are all well aware. Yet, amid the permeating uncertainty, there is some sense that we must persist as if everything were normal.

Our trite “mental health matters” rhetoric does little if it is not fortified by action. Even as we near the end of the academic year, it is not too late to change pace. At the ‘Prince’, I want to set a precedent for the remainder of the semester: Instead of our normal five-day production schedule, we will be cutting back to four. 

Perhaps that means less coverage. And, certainly, one day off per week won’t magically solve our problems or change the fact that this semester will remain a difficult one for our staff, but I am hoping it can at least ease the burden.

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Acknowledging our humanity is admirable, not weak. Even a small step to prioritize the well-being — and the very lives — of our Princeton family is immeasurably worthwhile.

Julia Chaffers calls on the University to lower its standards this year. I call on each of you — student leaders, professors, parents. Cancel meetings. Roll back expectations for your student organizations. Exempt your students from the final exam. We are people first, students, professors, administrators second. We should praise one another when we hold true to that fact.

Lives are at stake, and it is time for our community to act.

Emma Treadway is editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian. She can be reached at eic@dailyprincetonian.com

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