A class-action lawsuit accuses Stanford University of “discriminating” against students who have mental-health issues by “coercing them into taking leaves of absence, rather than trying to meet their needs on campus,” The New York Times reports.
The suit, filed by a legal center called Disability Rights Advocates, claims that students struggling with mental-health problems were “effectively banished” from the university once they were placed on leave, and also “stripped of their privacy and autonomy.” The leave process is allegedly abrupt, as students are “required to immediately withdraw from all classes, programs and housing.”
In order to return to Stanford, students allegedly had to write statements “accepting blame” for their behavior during their mental-health struggles. Students at Stanford and other schools told the newspaper that they approached their school’s counseling centers, only to find school officials wanting to boot them off campus. Harrison Fowler, a Stanford student who took a yearlong leave of absence at the university’s urging, says that he felt “blamed” for his own behavior by Stanford. “I don’t want people to be scared to reach out for help,” he told the Times.