Yale University allegedly discriminated against students hospitalized for a mental illness by threatening to unenroll them from courses, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Yale students and alumni.
The lawsuit, filed by Yale’s mental health advocacy group Elis for Rachel and two current students, claims that university officials visited students who were hospitalized for attempted suicide and pressured them to withdraw from classes. The plaintiffs also allege the administrators threatened to forcibly unenroll them if they refused to withdraw voluntarily.
Administrators allegedly told one plaintiff it would “look bad” if she opted not to withdraw herself. The plaintiff’s allege the university’s policies violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
— Elis For Rachael (@ElisForRachael) November 30, 2022
Students who withdraw from the university lose health-insurance an access to on-campus facilities which includes housing, according to the lawsuit. Students also lose money on tuition, room and board fees already paid.
“Yale’s withdrawal policy imposes unreasonable burdens on students who withdraw for disability-related reasons and discourage students from withdrawing from Yale due to a disability when that is appropriate,” the lawsuit reads.
The current policy also required students to submit a “successful application for reinstatement” which includes proof of “strong academic performance” outside of Yale and, in medical cases, a meeting with a Yale health administrator.
Yale University President Peter Salovey issued a Nov. 16 statement defending the university’s efforts to provide better mental health services after The Washington Post published an article first outlining the plaintiffs’ concerns earlier this month. (RELATED: What Is A ‘Suicide Cluster,’ And Why Has COVID Increased Them?)
The Connecticut school “simplified the process” for students to be reinstated after withdrawing by removing a requirement for returning students to take two courses, the statement read. It also will no longer require returning students to meet with the chair of the reinstatement committee after students claimed it was “intimidating.”
“In recent years, over 90 percent of students who were medically withdrawn are reinstated at their first request; over 99 percent on their second; and 100 percent by their third request,” Salovey wrote.
Still, the plaintiffs allege the revised policies did not “address the full scope of the violations addressed in this Complaint.”
Yale University and Elis for Rachel did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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