Target: Yale Dean of Student Affairs W. Marichal Gentry
Goal: Fire all those responsible for threatening to kick underweight student off campus if she didn’t gain weight
After a visit to Yale University’s Health Services, a Yale student was wrongfully labeled anorexic and told she needed to gain weight. If she did not she would need to leave the school. This school needs to be punished for overstepping their boundaries in discriminating this girl for her size.
Frances Chan is a twenty year old junior who is 5’2” and 92 pounds. After visiting the health center after finding a lump in her breast, the doctor deemed her BMI too low and was labeled as anorexic. Following the visit she was subject to weekly weigh-ins, blood testing, urine testing, EKGs, and mental health counselor visits. Frances claims that she does not have an eating disorder and that she comes from a naturally thin family. In a blog post, Frances admitted that she began to binge on cheese puffs and ice cream and avoid physical activity in attempts to gain weight.
These accusations by Yale University are extremely unjust and ignorant. Although Body Mass Index could be an indicator of anorexia, it is not in any way a means to diagnose it. Frances’ Body Mass Index only shows that she is about 8 pounds underweight, not that she is anorexic; a mental disorder which is entirely separate from being underweight. In young people, it is normal to be a little underweight and it is actually an indicator of good future health. The Yale doctors’ inability to recognize these issues shows that they are unfit to even be doctors at the prestigious university.
The fact that Yale threatened to make her leave school if she did not gain weight is even more unjust. Whether or not a student has an eating disorder, Yale University should not have the power to make a student leave school for being underweight. This is highly discriminatory, and a double standard considering the abundance of overweight college students who are not forced to lose weight.
Chan eventually gave up on her required medical visits saying “I don’t have an eating disorder, and I will not let Yale Health cause me to develop one”. Yale was in fact causing an eating disorder by making her feel the need to binge on junk food and avoid physical activity due to negative perceptions of her body. When it comes to a student’s weight and body image, universities should have no input on the issue.
Please sign the petition below to ensure that Yale University change its policies and fire anyone involved in making this student feel uncomfortable and discriminated against for her body.
Dear W. Marichal Gentry,
Your student Frances Chan has recently been discriminated against for her body size by your health center and administration. Upon discovery that this student was under-weight, the university health center deemed her anorexic based on nothing but her Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index can only be used to determine if someone is underweight, not to diagnose the mental disorder, anorexia. This assumption was unfair, and proves that the doctors in the health center are unfit to be giving diagnosis’s.
Whether or not a student is anorexic, a university should have no power over this individual. The threat to make this student leave school if she did not gain weight was an unjust double standard considering the estimated hundreds of overweight students at the university who are not forced to do anything about their weight. In fact, it is very normal for a young person to be under-weight before reaching their later 20’s when their metabolism slows, and is in fact often an indicator of good future health outcomes.
This student’s weight should be a personal matter between herself and her personal doctor, and Yale University was overstepping their boundaries by intervening. We ask that you change your policies and prevent any issue similar to this from occurring in the future. We also ask that you fire any individuals responsible for discriminating against this student and making her uncomfortable, feeling forced to binge on junk food rather than focus on her school work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ragesoss via Wikimedia Commons