Mental Health

Yale and student group settle dispute over mental health needs

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“Today is a watershed moment for anyone with a mental health disability and for the entire Yale community,” said Rishi Mirchandani, a 2019 Yale University graduate. Image from Shutterstock.

Yale University has settled a federal lawsuit with a student group alleging that the school discriminated against students with mental health issues and pressured them to withdraw from classes.

Elis for Rachael Inc., a Connecticut corporation, sued Yale on behalf of current and former students in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in November 2022. As part of their agreement, which was announced Friday, Yale will change its policies on medical leaves of absence.

The university will permit students to study part time if they have urgent mental health needs. If they receive this accommodation at the beginning of a new term, students will receive a 50% reduction in tuition.

Under the agreement, Yale will also allow students to remain on medical leave as long as necessary and make the reinstatement process for those who return to campus after leave less onerous.

The Associated Press, CNN and Washington Post have coverage of the settlement.

Rishi Mirchandani is a 2019 Yale graduate and co-founder of Elis for Rachael, which was established in 2021 in honor of a Yale student who died by suicide. It helps students at the university who are struggling with their mental health.

“Today is a watershed moment for anyone with a mental health disability and for the entire Yale community,” Mirchandani said in a statement Friday. “This historic settlement affirms that students with mental health needs truly belong.”

Pericles Lewis, the dean of Yale College, said in a statement published by the Associated Press he hopes that the changes to the university’s policies “will make it easier for students to ask for support, focus on their health and well-being, and take time off if they wish, knowing that they can resume their studies when they are ready.”

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