Lawsuit accuses Yale of discriminating against students with mental health issues and unfair withdrawal policies

Lawsuit accuses Yale of discriminating against students with mental health issues and unfair withdrawal policies

A group called Elis for Rachael and two students sued Yale University, accusing Yale of discriminating against students with mental health issues.

The lawsuit, which also names Yale President Peter Salovey and the Yale Corporation as plaintiffs, claims that “for decades, [Yale defendants] treated unequally and failed to accommodate students with mental health issues,” and refused to change policies.

It states that “its withdrawal policies and practices drive mentally ill students out of Yale, impose punitive consequences on students who have withdrawn, and place unreasonable burdens on students who, after withdrawal, seek reinstatement.”

He also accuses Yale of requiring students to attend full-time and “makes it unreasonably difficult to obtain disability accommodations in coursework or housing.”

These practices are especially harsh for less advantaged students, who cannot continue their health insurance coverage when they withdraw, despite needing mental health care, the lawsuit said.

In a November 11 article in the Washington Post, described how Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum of Alaska, a freshman, died by suicide, allegedly because of the consequences she would face if she withdrew from school , according to his family.

“Yale’s withdrawal policy provides for involuntary withdrawals for disability-related symptoms, including threat to self,” according to the complaint. “It does not provide for any deference to treating professionals or whether the withdrawal will cause harm.”

The students would have been forced to take “voluntary” leave or they would be placed on involuntary leave, the lawsuit says. Two students were told they would be seen as liabilities to Yale if they did not withdraw, according to the complaint.

In addition to its post-withdrawal readmission policies, “Yale prohibits withdrawn students, including students who withdraw due to mental disabilities, from visiting campus and from all campus activities, even activities open to non-students, such as summer school,” the lawsuit states.

Students on leave are not banned, he says.

The lawsuit further claims that students who withdraw after the first 15 days of a semester will remain in the student health plan for only 30 days, while those on leave may remain in the plan. Those who opt out within the first 15 days have their health insurance retroactively terminated, the lawsuit says.

Those who withdraw also forfeit any tuition and room and board payments they have made, and are charged a daily rate for the 48 hours between their notice of withdrawal and the time they are required to leave campus. complaint fees. They then have to stay away from Yale for one or two semesters.

People on leave are not subject to the same restrictions.

Reinstatement is a “daunting” process, according to the lawsuit, including an application, a personal statement, letters of support, evidence that the student was “constructively occupied” during the removal, and possibly completed classes, says the trial.

There are two windows when reinstatement is possible, he says. Students may not fail a course for the next two semesters or they may have to reapply, according to the complaint.

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Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart released a statement saying, “Yale faculty, staff and leaders care deeply about our students. We recognize how distressing and difficult it is for the student and their loved ones when a student is dealing with mental health issues.

“When we make decisions and establish policies, our primary focus is the safety and health of students, especially when they are most vulnerable,” she said. “We believe in creating and maintaining strong, meaningful support structures for our students, and in many cases the safest plan includes the student’s parents and family.”

Peart said Yale has taken steps to make it easier for students to return and to provide support and increase resources.

“The university is confident that our policies comply with all applicable laws and regulations,” she wrote. “Nevertheless, we have been working on policy changes that address the emotional and financial well-being of students.”

The lawsuit seeks to become a class action. He claims Yale violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Affordable Care Act.

A Ruderman Foundation white paper on mental health “unveiled flawed and discriminatory practices by eight Ivy League universities in their mental health policies.” The authors gave Yale an F grade, although none of the Ivy League schools received a grade higher than D+.

Ed Stannard can be reached at

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