LETTER : Angry, not sad

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your generally illuminating piece on the implications of the David Regan suicide ("Professor Regan's sacrifice", 10 February) concerns me with its interpretation of the extension of a counselling service to university staff as a positive outcome of the tragedy. Well-intentioned though those members of the university council who suggested this service may have been, one is left with the depressing feeling that they see Professor Regan's death as avoidable if only he had been counselled.

Perhaps he had private griefs, disappointments, self-doubts - and counselling might have helped here. But perhaps he was -at least partly - making a moral protest against the style of government of his university. Apparently, his suicide notes suggested this was the case, and if so, an inquiry seems the appropriate response. We don't want to travel the path of counselling and psychiatry as a corrective to oppositional postures.

I noted, at the inquest, the coroner's refusal to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. I've known David Regan for 30 years, been a colleague for 17, had much talk with him in his last months, and particularly his last week, and might have been able to assist an inquiry operating under less restrictive procedural rules than the coroner imposed.

Yours sincerely,

MIKE MCDOUGALL

Beeston, Nottinghamshire

13 February

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