The Cameron Carden Act is a new bill that might soon force public colleges in Maryland to let students who are having mental health crises drop out and get their tuition back. The show is a tribute to Cameron Carden, a student at Salisbury University who was discriminated against before he tragically died.
The bill, which is actually called HB295/HB872, was introduced by delegate Shaneka Henson and has already gotten support from every member of the Maryland House. This is the third time that lawmakers have thought about similar bills, as support for addressing mental health on college campuses grows.
👏🏾 The Cameron Carden Act of 2023 passed the House and is headed to the Senate. I filed this bill for Cameron Carden and for the mental health of all our college students. Help me thank my colleagues in the House for unanimous support. #mentalhealthmatters #working4md pic.twitter.com/92zLOsO0n5— Shaneka Henson (@ShanekaHenson) March 9, 2023
“No student should face barriers to getting help in moments of crisis,” Henson stated. “Cameron’s story highlights the need for reasonable policies that support student wellbeing.”
Cameron’s Story Inspires Crucial Bill
He was a student at Salisbury University when he killed himself in 2018. He was 18 years old. His family says that Cameron was severely harassed on college because of his learning disability and his sexuality.
Cameron was mistreated, but when he asked for sick leave, his requests for tuition reimbursement were turned down. Because of his tragic death, his family is now pushing for an official state policy that would require students in similar situations to get their tuition back.
Bill Details: Withdrawals, Refunds, Prevention
The Cameron Carden Act would mandate several key policies at Maryland public institutions:
- Students could withdraw and receive prorated tuition refunds for mental health crises, with appropriate documentation.
- Colleges must share mental health/suicide prevention resources during orientation.
- An appointed campus advocate would connect students to mental health services.
People who support these steps say they give people important financial freedom and support that could save lives.
“Cameron Carden’s story shed light on problems that many college students face today,” said Dr. Dan Martin, a mental health official who spoke in support. “Passing this legislation would continue meaningful conversations about mental health on campuses across Maryland.”
Unanimous Support So Far
So far, every single member of the House has agreed to support the bill.
Ebersole, a delegate, called it a “common sense initiative” that protects families and students in times of trouble. Other lawmakers pointed out that the bill would have a small effect on the economy because not many students would likely quit.
Supporters of the bill say that Cameron’s story has taught many people about gaps in campus mental health policies across the state as the bill goes to the Maryland Senate for review.
“Cameron brought up a troubling matter,” Henson said. “This legislation will empower students to get help when they need it most, before situations escalate to the point of tragedy.”