Four University of Pennsylvania students have committed suicide in the past year. Following Wendy Shung’s suicide last August and Alice Wiley’s in December, Madison Holleran jumped off a parking tower in January and Elvis Hatcher hanged himself in February.
While the suicide of the Asian American student, Shung, passed without much reverberation across campus, the suicides of the three white students have sparked mourning and outrage.
Beyond college campuses, the average suicide rate of Asian Americans is about half that of the national average. Although this data seems to be another indicator of Asian Americans’ model minority status, a closer examination of the younger demographic reveals a more troubling picture. Asian American teenagers and college students experience greater rates of stress and harbor more suicidal thoughts than their non-Asian peers.