Mental Health & Wellness Coalition v. Stanford

Click here for case documents Date Filed: 05/17/2018 Status:

On May 17, 2018, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national nonprofit legal center, filed a federal class action lawsuit against Stanford University for violating the rights of students with mental health disabilities.  Stanford routinely responds to student mental health crises by barring students from campus and evicting them from on-campus housing.  DRA is bringing this lawsuit on behalf of the Stanford Mental Health & Wellness Coalition and three current Stanford students with the goal of to end Stanford’s discriminatory policies and practices.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and related state laws protect against discrimination on the basis of mental health disabilities such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  These laws prohibit colleges and universities, such as Stanford, from discriminating against students with mental health disabilities by excluding them from university programs, services, or housing. In violation of these laws, Stanford maintains a practice of pressuring students immediately after reports of crisis behavior into taking leaves of absence; requiring immediate withdrawal from all classes and housing without an individualized evaluation of reasonable accommodations.

Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages, but rather equal access to Stanford’s educational and housing programs and services.  Their ultimate goal is to change Stanford’s leave of absence and related policies and practices to address its current exclusion and punishment of students with mental health disabilities.

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