Current students and advocacy group Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law have filed a lawsuit against Yale University and its governing body that alleges "systemic discrimination against students with mental health disabilities."
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in a Connecticut federal court and goes on to claim that the university discriminated against students with mental health disabilities and also forced students to withdraw from the school after showing severe mental health disability symptoms, CNN reported.
Apparently, university officials urged students to take a leave of absence for one or two terms at the minimum if they experienced symptoms related to a mental health disability and suggested they would face an 'involuntary' withdrawal" if they chose otherwise, the lawsuit claims.
Those students who opted to withdraw were given 48 hours to move out of their housing if they lived on campus and were also barred from visiting campus and all campus activities without prior permission from school officials, which also includes in-person summer classes that are open to non-students.
The lawsuit details cases where students were required to be escorted by police to move off-campus housing after withdrawing and some students who withdrew for disability-related reasons -whether voluntary or involuntary- often end up forfeiting chunks of their tuition and room and board payments. The loss was dependent on the timing of the withdrawal. They also lost their student health insurance, the lawsuit says.
"I think that Yale tends to wash its hands of cases of mental illness that are too severe because they don't want to be associated with that student. They want the student to deal with their issues anywhere except Yale's campus," Rishi Mirchandani told CNN. "And in some instances, taking time off is a healthy decision. In other cases, it separates students from their primary support group."
Mirchandani, a plaintiff of the suit and former Yale student, struggled with his own mental health crisis while attending the university.
An attorney from the advocacy group that is representing the plaintiffs said the university's policies are shocking.
"We've been doing research and collecting data on-campus mental health issues nationwide and using that to inform the policy change that we advocate for on a national level. We have found Yale to be a particularly egregious example," Monica Porter told CNN.
Yale's President confirmed the school has been in the process of reviewing its withdrawal policies. In a November statement, the president said: "A committee of Yale College student affairs professionals and mental health experts at Yale has been meeting since September 2022 to continue the review of our withdrawal and reinstatement policies," the statement said. "This group is poised to roll out policy changes in stages that will continue to support students."
Karen Peart, a spokesperson, said Yale is currently working on policy changes that are responsive to students' emotional and financial well-being.
"Yale's faculty, staff, and leaders care deeply about our students. We recognize how distressing and difficult it is for the student and their loves ones when a student is facing mental health challenges. When we make decisions and set policies, our primary focus is on students' safety and health, especially when they are most vulnerable. We believe in creating and sustaining strong and sensible support structures for our students, and in many cases, the safest plan includes the student's parents and family."
"We have taken steps in recent years to simplify the return to Yale for students on medical withdrawals and to provide additional support for students. We are also working to increase resources to help students. The university is confident that our policies comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Nonetheless, we have been working on policy changes that are responsive to students' emotional and financial well-being," she added.
The post Yale University Sued By Students Over Mental Health Policy appeared first on Baller Alert.