Yale University Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination against Students with Mental Illness


Yale University has agreed to settle a lawsuit in which the prestigious university allegedly discriminated against students with mental disorders, according to a joint statement by the university and the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit, filed last November in federal court in Connecticut by current students and the nonprofit Ellis for Rachel, claims that an Ivy League school forced the expulsion of a student who exhibited symptoms of a severe mental disorder. claims.

In the settlement agreement, Yale University’s undergraduate chapter will allow students with urgent medical needs to study part-time and make it easier for students to return from sick leave. Agreed to amend the policy. Many of these policies went into effect in January, with the rest going into effect on Friday, according to a university spokesperson.

According to a copy of the agreement, the settlement “is not an admission of Yale or plaintiffs with respect to any claim, cause of action, or question of law.”

The deal is still subject to court approval.

“Today is a turning point for people with mental illness and for the Yale community at large,” Rishi Mirchandani, co-founder of Ellis, an advocacy group for Rachel, said in a statement on Friday. Stated. The nonprofit, named after Yale freshman Rachel Shaw-Rosenbaum, who died by suicide in 2021, wrote about her fear of being forced out of school.

“This historic settlement confirms that there really is a place for students with mental health needs,” Mirchandani continued.

The Yale dean said he was “satisfied” with the agreement, noting that Yale has expanded its student resources over the past few years.

“Students and alumni have shared constructive ideas with Yale administrators and clinicians. I hope it makes it easier for them to take time off when the situation calls for it.” said in an emailed statement.

In a November lawsuit, Yale officials suggested students face “involuntary” expulsion if they experience serious mental health symptoms, and take “voluntary” leave of absence for at least a semester or two. He claimed to have put pressure on him. According to the lawsuit, expelled students were barred from visiting campuses or participating in any campus activities without prior permission from the school.

Under the terms of the settlement, Yale changed its medical leave policy, removing the mandatory minimum length of absence, according to a statement Ellis issued to Rachel. The nonprofit said in a statement that the university also agreed to “streamline and clarify” its return-to-work process and give students on medical leave more access to the campus.

“The new process will prioritize medical care and the ability of students to return as equal members of the campus community,” Ellis said on behalf of Rachel.

In an email sent to Yale students, the university described the “most notable change” as “a medical leave of absence (previously medical expulsion) created last year that will allow students to pay for health insurance, campus We are now able to respond more flexibly to things like work within the company and taking classes.” Other elements of student life. ”

The settlement also outlines steps Yale will take to ensure that students and faculty are aware of mental health policies and resources, including training for the university’s mental health professionals.

“Yale University will implement a system to ensure a robust and meaningful quest for reasonable accommodation, including accommodations to help students meet essential academic requirements and stay safely in school,” the settlement says. Are listed.

The lawsuit also details a case where a student was asked to have a police escort to retrieve his belongings from a campus residence after he dropped out of college.

Under the proposed settlement policy, police will be present at evictions only if there is a risk to student safety or a risk of disruption that cannot be mitigated by reasonable accommodation.

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