USU posts updates regarding lawsuit following death of Jerusha Sanjeevi

LOGAN – Utah State University officials posted updates to the school’s website this week in response to a complaint filed in federal court last week involving the suicide death of a onetime Ph.d. candidate Jerusha Sanjeevi.

The lawsuit names USU, plus students and staff from the school’s Psychology department – including assistant professor Melissa Tehee, Clinical Assistant Professor (Emeritus) Carolyn Barcus, and Professor Gretchen Peacock, and Ph.D. candidates Tamara Barrett and Amanda Blume – as defendants.

Court papers filed last week charge, “This is a case about a university clinical and counseling psychology training program that knowingly allowed one of its students to be verbally abused, intimidated and subjected to cultural and racial discrimination by favored students over the course of eight months, until she was rendered so emotionally devastated and hopeless that she committed suicide.”

USU’s post Tuesday referenced the huge impact Sanjeevi’s suicide has had on the USU Psychology Department and the entire university.

“It is inappropriate to wage litigation through media, and as with all student matters and pending litigation, Utah State University is limited in what it can say. The facts should, and will ultimately guide the outcome of this matter, and it is grossly inaccurate to say that USU did nothing.”

An update to the USU website Wednesday encouraged anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. “Directly asking someone about suicidal thoughts in a caring manner does not raise the risk of suicide and, in fact, helps reduce stigma and make it more likely the person will seek help.”

KUTV reported Wednesday that Jerusha Sanjeevi’s boyfriend, who filed the complaint in federal court, said Sanjeevi repeatedly asked for the university’s protection against a classmate she claimed bullied her and she did not receive adequate assistance.

The complaint seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for Sanjeevi’s family in Malaysia.

She died of acute self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning in April 2017.

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  • Jake August 9, 2019 at 11:29 pm Reply

    limited in what we can say, limited in what it can do… Typical university bureaucracy. Instead of quickly addressing the matter and firing/expelling the bullies they release a statment that proves once again how ineffective, indulgent they are.

  • Anne Baylor August 10, 2019 at 11:24 am Reply

    USU was absolutely in the wrong, and Jerusha was not the only victim to contemplate death because of these bullies and other faculty wrongs, though her case was by far the worst. I eagerly await the conclusion of this case, which should ABSOLUTELY take place in the public arena because a self-policing agency is what caused this problem in the first place.

  • Peter N August 10, 2019 at 11:30 pm Reply

    @Ann Baylor. Bullsh!t, no where in the lawsuit is anything mentioned like that. If your telling the truth then tell it to the attorneys suing. Spoiler alert, you won’t because your just another liar on the internet.

  • Warren Pugh August 12, 2019 at 7:19 pm Reply

    Oh, WOW! Pretty harsh, but public school psychologists
    have been burdening us and themselves with way too
    much oversite. Time to teach and study. We have more PHDs
    and Masters Degrees than ever in the history of our country.
    PISA says we have little to show for it. Perhaps we need to mind our own business??

  • Em August 13, 2019 at 4:15 am Reply

    The bully Tamara Barrett and her racist mentor Melissa Tehee erased all their social media after the lawsuit was filed. Still cowards even after they caused Jarusha’s death. I still can’t believe that these people actually wanted to be therapists when they lack complete sympathy and humanity.

    • H. Lee August 20, 2019 at 11:21 am Reply

      If they erased accounts, they probably did so because they were being harassed and bullied by others like you.

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