College Student Needed Housing Help, Sent to Psych Ward Instead

psych ward mental institutionA Nigerian student at Brooklyn College was having trouble with her roommates and landlord, so she went to Campus and Community Safety Services for help. Next thing Chinemerem Eze knew, she was in an ambulance headed to Kings County Psychiatric Hospital, where she was locked up for two weeks. She missed her final exams and was kicked out of school.

What was Eze's problem? She told a campus security officer that her landlord had put a hidden camera in her apartment.

That claim instigated the series of events that culminated in Eze's commission to the psychiatric hospital in early December 2008. She asked for help with a housing issue, and she ended up facing accusations that she was crazy.


Oh, and by the way, according to her verified legal complaint, she found a camera placed in a vent in her apartment.

The presence or absence of the camera is immaterial though, as far as the school's reaction to Eze goes. Roommate and landlord disputes happen frequently. Eze was a young college student who tried to use the resources available to her to help resolve this common problem. Sounds like the responsible approach, right? Instead, these resources -- a security officer and the school psychologist -- ultimately caused more problems for her.

Not only was she held in a psychiatric hospital for no apparent reason, she missed her exams as a result of this confinement. A semester's worth of work and tuition, all for nothing.

Eze has apparently settled a medical malpractice suit against the City of New York, but now she is suing Brooklyn College for negligence and violation of civil rights. Whether she really did find a camera or not, I'm on her side in this complaint. Hospitalization really ought not to have been Brooklyn College's first course of action, and the fact that Eze's commitment at the hands of Brooklyn resulted in her termination from the school is unacceptable.


Image via kowaleski/Flickr

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