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Worcester Polytechnic Institute investigating 4th student death since July

At least two of the deaths were suicides. 

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is investigating after a first-year student was found dead in his dorm on Monday night, WBUR reports.

It is the fourth student death at WPI since July.

According to the radio station, the cause of death for the first-year student is being investigated. Two of the previous student deaths were suicides. Prior to the deaths this year, there were two suicides among students since 2006.

WPI President Laurie Leshin told WBUR the level of loss at the school is unprecedented.

“We are reeling,” she said. “In the immediate aftermath of the tragedies, we have been working very closely with students who were closest to our students who passed away.”

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Boston 25 News reports students planned to gather on Thursday wearing all black to draw attention to the mental health needs on campus and mourn their classmates.

“Student leaders are coming together just to process this as a unit,” student Matt Maloney told the station. “It is encouraging to see students come together during these times, but when it happens this many times, most of the [questions are], ‘What do we do? What else can we do?’”

According to the WBUR, WPI has added staff to its on-campus mental health center in order to respond to mental health needs from students. The school is also hosting events for students to share their feelings about the losses and come together as a community. 

“Everybody on this campus needs to be a part of that culture of care. And that’s really where we’re focusing our energies,” Leshin told WBUR. “If we put this entirely on the backs of mental health professionals, we will never have enough of that. We’ve got to look at it as a more systemic issue that we’ve all got to be involved in addressing.”

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