A Yale student was reportedly threatened with expulsion after the school demanded she gain weight because she was too skinny.
Frances Chan, who is 5-foot-2 and weighs 90 pounds, says she has been force-feeding herself ice cream and junk food to try to gain weight after the Ivy League school thought she was suffering from an eating disorder, the Daily Mail reported.
The 20-year-old history major from New Jersey says the school, located in New Haven, Conn., was not convinced when her parents said that she, and the rest of her family, had always been naturally thin but healthy. Childhood medical records were sent, and a family doctor even contacted the school.
“It felt really bad to be this powerless,” Chan told the New Haven Register. “I ate ice cream twice a day. I ate cookies. I used elevators instead of walking up stairs. But I don’t really gain any weight.”
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The argument over Chan’s weight started in September when she went to get a lump in her breast checked out, which turned out to be benign.
But in a follow-up appointment, Yale doctors told her she was dangerously underweight and imposed mandatory weekly weigh-ins and sessions with a mental health professional and a nutritionist.
Chan tried to abide by Yale’s request and put on weight, but she could only gain two pounds.
The university said that wasn’t enough. According to Chan’s essay in The Huffington Post, one Yale doctor told her, “If we don’t tackle your low weight now, it will kill you.” The school also threatened to put her on a medical leave of absence.
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She says the university’s doctors place too much importance on body-mass index as a health indicator. But her new doctor acknowledged BMI, which is a number determined by a person’s weight and height, isn’t the only significant factor.
“I asked my health-conscious friends what they do to remain slim and did the exact opposite,” she writes.
Chan finally had enough of the never-ending weigh-ins and mental health check-ups. She’d rather be expelled than make herself crazy.
“I'm done,” she writes.
“No more weigh-ins, no more blood draws. I don't have an eating disorder, and I will not let Yale Health cause me to develop one. If Yale wants to kick me out, let them try — in the meantime, I'll be studying for midterms, doing my best to make up for lost time.”
In a statement to the Register, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said he couldn't discuss specific cases because of medical privacy regulations. “Yale has a strong system of mental health care for students,” he said.