HomeCampusFamily Sues Harvard for Son's Death

Family Sues Harvard for Son’s Death

Luke Tang

Harvard is facing a lawsuit in connection with the 2015 suicide of student Luke Tang, reports the Harvard Crimson.

The lawsuit filed by Tang’s parents accuses the university and its employees of “negligence and carelessness.” They are asking for at least $20 million in damages.

“As a direct and proximate result of Harvard’s negligence and carelessness, the Plaintiff’s decedent was caused severe conscious physical and mental pain and suffering and further, the Plaintiff’s decedent was caused to commit suicide,” the complaint reads.

The family alleges that after their son’s suicide attempt in his freshman year, Luke signed a contract that he would not remain on campus without mental health counseling. The lawsuit contends that between May 2015 and his death in September, Tang received no counseling.

The university declined to comment about the lawsuit, but Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote in an email “Losing a child is among the most painful things that can happen to a family. “Thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone who knew and loved Luke.”

The family has raised awareness of mental health issues in the Asian American community.

They got involved in a documentary about their son’s death with filmmaker Eric Lu, the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds and the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The film Looking for Luke debuted in 2017.

“When I first called Luke’s parents, I had no idea what they were going to say.” said Lu to Kore in 2017. This was only six months after his suicide, so I was freaked out that they weren’t going to want to have anything to do with this. But surprisingly, they were very, very open. After the call, they said, “Come on over to New Orleans, film us, we’re open to doing the interview.” They wanted to be able to tell Luke’s story so they could help other parents. Although it was a very difficult topic, I think there was also a layer of hope and optimism that came from the parents wanting to use this most painful experience of their lives as a way to help others. Yes, this is really painful, but at the end of the day, we want to use this to save lives.

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