Lindsay Blankmeyer of New York leveled a lawsuit against her former school, Stonehill College, because she believes that administrators of the Boston-based institution could have done more to help her after complaints about her roommate’s sex life were not dealt with to her satisfaction.
Blankmeyer claims that she dealt with depression and ADD before she attended Stonehill, a Roman Catholic college, but that her symptoms increased until she felt like committing suicide because she was not moved away from the situation. According to Blankmeyer, her roommate engaged in sexual activities with her boyfriend despite Blankmeyer’s presence in the space at the same time, as well as the relatively small size of their dorm room. Blankmeyer also complained that her roommate took part in sexualized video chats while Blankmeyer was present.
When the school did not act sufficiently with her wishes, either by forcing the roommate out or by moving Blankmeyer into a single room, she claims that she was forced to move into a hotel. Her lawsuit describes the deeper depression that she succumbed to during and after the incident and how it led her to contemplate suicide. Eventually, according to the lawsuit, Blankmeyer required extreme psychiatric and medical attention.
By fall of 2011, Blankmeyer had finished her degree at her New York residence. Like so many other students who complete their degrees via a school that allows for distance learning, such as those students pursuing online MBA degree programs, Blankmeyer may have been able to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities despite a stressful situation.
The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages.
A spokesperson for Stonehill has reported that college officials responded quickly and with professional decorum to deal with Blankmeyer’s complaints. The first step the school took was to practice conflict resolution strategies with the director of residences, and when that failed, Stonehill offered Blankmeyer the opportunity to move into a private room. However, according to the Stonehill rep, Blankmeyer never specified that her complaints were related to her roommate’s sexual proclivities.
Blankmeyer’s lawsuit claims that she was offered two options: to live in a small room that had been used before as a student lounge, or to move into a “party dorm” with someone whom Blankmeyer was unfamiliar.
For any students suffering from depression or anxiety, it is important to get help immediately. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a school counselor or taking medication, you should practice deep breathing techniques if you find yourself in a situation that causes you to panic. Take a step back and begin breathing slowly and evenly: in through the nose and then out through the mouth, counting down from ten. If you feel that you may suffer from seasonal depression, make sure to take daily vitamins, including Vitamin D. You may also find it helpful to install a lamp that simulates sunlight.
For Lindsay Blankmeyer, the dangers of depression were heightened by a stressful situation. Should she actually win her lawsuit, perhaps more schools will begin to regulate student behavior, including the ways that students who live in dorms will be paired with prospective roommates.