Yale responds to WaPo report on suicidal students pressured to retire

Yale University officials responded with several letters last week after a story in the Washington Post about suicidal students prompted them to withdraw and reapply.

The Washington Post ran a story on Nov. 11 reporting that current and former students claimed to have been pressured by university administrators to withdraw once their mental health issues became known, requiring them to go through a circuitous reapplication process, to get back into school.

More than 25 current and former Yale students told the outlet they were upset by what they described as inadequate Yale policies and services for students in a mental health crisis, despite the $41.4 billion endowment.

In cases reported by those who spoke to the Washington Post, some students heard no response after seeking psychological help, while others received limited counseling. Others claimed they hid their mental health difficulties to circumvent Yale’s withdrawal policy, which allegedly pressured such students to leave campus in as few as 72 hours or less.

Yale University cross campus looking towards the Sterling Library in the fall of 2013 in New Haven, Connecticut
Twenty-five Yale students said they were upset with the university’s mental health services.
Moments Editorial/Getty Images

After the story, Pericles Lewis, Dean of Yale College, and Dr. Paul Hoffman, director of Yale Mental Health and Counseling, wrote a letter in the Washington Post opposing her reporting. The letter claimed the report ignored Yale’s “complex and nuanced efforts” to address student mental health and warned the article “could put more students at risk” by leading them to believe they should, regardless of their mental health status stay in school.

President Peter Salovey also posted a letter on the school’s website in response to backlash from Yale alumni over the story.

“To be clear, the health and well-being of Yale students are top university priorities,” wrote Salovey. “The Washington Post article does not reflect Yale’s efforts to promote student well-being. The article fails to acknowledge the support, processes and policies in place or the positive outcomes associated with our work.”

Calhoun College of Yale University
Yale responded with several letters disputing the Washington Post report.
Moments Editorial/Getty Images

The Washington Post then ran a follow-up story last Friday in which the outlet interviewed Lewis about how the school could potentially change its withdrawal policy in the near future.

“I wanted to make it clear that the mental health of our students is a very, very high priority and that we are trying to follow the policies and practices that ensure that,” Lewis said. “This will particularly help prevent suicides. And that is the basis for our decision-making and nothing else.”

Alicia Floyd, a former Yale student who attempted suicide in 2000, told the newspaper that the college administration “missed the point of the article and the students who were brave enough to speak up.”

“The problem is how terribly they can manage to go and come back. And how that keeps people in pain from seeking help or taking the time they need,” Floyd added.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five counties, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

https://nypost.com/2022/11/22/yale-responds-to-wapo-report-suicidal-students-pressured-to-withdraw/ Yale responds to WaPo report on suicidal students pressured to retire


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