International Men’s Day Cancelled Following University Male Student’s Suicide

International Men’s Day Cancelled Following University Male Student’s Suicide
Susan Dutca-Lovell

According to Breitbart news, a 21-year old student at the U.K.'s University of York committed suicide 24 hours before the university's cancellation of International Men's Day. After 200 feminist campaigners, students, staff and alumni expressed their fury over a professor's comments about International Men's Day, the university decided to not observe the November 19 holiday and instead continue to focus on "inequalities faced by women." Though students fought to reinstate IMD, the decision was not reversed.

Monday morning at 2:30 am, police responded to a campus call for a 21-year old male who was found with life-threatening injuries. Allegedly, the male student committed suicide for unknown reasons. The student's name has not been disclosed and few details were reported regarding the incident. Breitbart reported the death notice through an anonymous tip-off from an angry university student, who viewed the university's IMD decision as a "downplay of the seriousness of men's health."

Despite the recent suicide and the alarming male suicide rate in the U.K., the university did not reinstate the event. Some Twitter users have voiced their disapproval in York's action and some tweeted they would no longer apply to the university because "it discriminates against men," attaching statistics about mental health, education, and employment. U.K. organizers of IMD report that 13 men commit suicide each day. In 2013, 78% of male suicides "within the most vulnerable age group between 45 and 59." The percentage of U.K. men taking their own lives is at an all-time high. The university has not addressed the suicide incident, and this suicide, along with other male suicides, received little to no attention.

What exactly is International Men's Day? IMD was created in the 1960's to raise awareness for "men's health, improve gender relations and promote gender equality." Based on recent events, men's mental health, along with other common issues, are being pushed further despite IMD's attempt to raise awareness and promote gender equality. Do recent events highlight a need to observe men's issues such as physical health, mental health, rape, and domestic violence - issues that all people, men included, struggle with and do not gain sufficient attention? How do you think this affects gender equality? Share your thoughts below, and start a discussion.

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