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Yale University settles discrimination lawsuit over students' mental health

Aug. 28, 2023
The suit contended that the university pressured students with mental health problems to leave school.

Yale University and a student group have reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit that accused the school of discriminating against students with mental health disabilities, including pressuring them to withdraw.

The Associated Press reports that the agreement calls for Yale to modify its policies regarding medical leaves of absence, including streamlining the reinstatement process for students who return to the New Haven, Connecticut, campus. The student group had argued that the process was onerous and discouraged students from taking medical leave when they needed it most.

The settlement is a “watershed moment” for the university and mental health patients, said 2019 graduate Rishi Mirchandani, a co-founder of Elis for Rachael, the group that sued. It was formed to help students with mental health issues in honor of a Yale student who took her own life.

Under the agreement, Yale will allow students to study part-time if they have urgent medical needs. Elis for Rachael said it marks the first time the university has offered such an option. The length of a student’s leave would be “based on a clinical assessment. Students may remain on a medical leave of absence for as long as they wish.”

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