Raising Our Voices

Let's Talk About Bryn Mawr College

April 18, 2018
by Julian Ledger
0 comments

Max is officially approved!

I’m thrilled to announce that my cat Max is approved to be my emotional support animal for next year! We will be living on Rock 3rd!!

[Image description:

A small embroidery piece depicting a black and white cat (Max!) on a white background with blue vines. Purple text surrounds Max that says “an emotional support animal lives here” and his name “Max” is on the lower right side in pink.

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April 14, 2018
by Julian Ledger
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Let’s Talk: Medical Leave – Part Two

[Image description:

An event flyer that says:

LET’S TALK: MEDICAL LEAVE – PART TWO

DRAFTING A MEDICAL LEAVE BILL OF RIGHTS

GOALS

  • Affirm our place as disabled students at the college – WE BELONG HERE
  • Improve communication and transparency between students and the Dean’s Office
  • RESIST the systematic mistreatment of mentally ill students at this college

SUNDAY APRIL 22

7-8PM

COLLEGE HALL 104

?? JLEDGER@BMC

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April 14, 2018
by Julian Ledger
0 comments

An Appreciation Post

[Reposted from my Facebook]

This is an appreciation post for all my neurodivergent and disabled friends in college: We are BADASS and STRONG and I’m so proud of us. We’re making space for ourselves at an institution that’s hard and even hostile at times, and we’re all doing our best, and our best is MORE than enough.

❤💛💙💜💚

April 14, 2018
by Julian Ledger
0 comments

On Hospitalizations and Hostility

About a year ago, I checked myself into Bryn Mawr Hospital because I was experiencing severe manic symptoms as part of my bipolar disorder. When I got out of the hospital, the Dean’s Office together with Dr. Bazelon (a psychiatrist affiliated with the college) decided that I would not be allowed to live on campus for the rest of the semester, even though I was very vocal about wanting to return to school. The college did not respect my basic wants and needs at a time when I was very vulnerable and needed their support more than ever. While all this was happening, it was unclear who was actually making these decisions about whether I could stay at college, what they were based on, and what I needed to do or say to be able to stay in school. How was I supposed to advocate for myself when I didn’t even know what was happening?

 

I know now that these decisions are made between Dr. Bazelon and the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office ultimately gets to decide whether a student will be placed on medical leave or not, however, they always follow Dr. Bazelon’s medical recommendation. The fact that it is ultimately the Dean’s decision takes responsibility off of Dr. Bazelon, as she does not have to take credit for her key role.

 

Supposedly these decisions are based on whether the student is a danger to themselves or others. But that’s bullshit. Any student that is being discharged from the hospital is no longer a danger to themself, or else the hospital staff would not discharge them. Based on a disability rights perspective, the college is breaking the law by forcing students off campus. Disabled students have a legal right to campus housing unless the college can show that they are a danger to themselves or others– which, as I stated earlier, any student being discharged from the hospital is not.

 

It’s not just an issue of disability rights, though that is an important lens through which to view it. It’s also an emotional issue. It hurts like hell to be told that you can’t come back to campus. You’re essentially being told that your illness doesn’t belong at college. You’re being told that some levels of illness are okay, but you’re too sick, or too crazy, or the wrong kind of crazy. Bryn Mawr can say they support diversity but when it comes down to it, they are hostile towards disabled students.

April 13, 2018
by Julian Ledger
0 comments

Let’s Talk: Medical Leave — First Meeting

Hi all,

Thank you for coming tonight! I am so grateful that you all care about this issue and want to create change on campus.

Some key points:

  • Fire Dr. Bazelon!! She is sketchy, violates HIPAA, and doesn’t take responsibility for her key role in the college’s decision on whether a student gets to stay or gets forced out. An example of her violating HIPAA: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2007/04/loner_or_psychopath.html
  • Avenues for creating institutional memory so that when we graduate, our experiences are remembered. Ways to do this: a documentary! Twitter! Julian’s blog! The Access Services Institutional Memory Form!
  • Creating a Bill of Rights. I will send out an email/create an event page/put up flyers/submit to the Daily Digest about this in the next week or two to set up a meeting. We will draft a Bill of Rights, including (for example) students have the right to privacy under HIPAA. We will submit the Bill of Rights to the Dean’s Office so that it will be published in the Student Handbook alongside medical leave policies, as well as publishing it online.

I am so grateful for all your thoughts, ideas, and help. I hope to see you at our next meeting.

Best,

Julian

April 10, 2018
by Julian Ledger
0 comments

Let’s Talk: Medical Leave

An event I’m holding this weekend– because students with severe mental illness deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We deserve to have our wants and needs listened to and respected. We deserve to be treated like adults who have full autonomy and agency. We belong in this institution and we should never be made to leave if we don’t want to.

[Image Description:

An event flyer that says:

?? JLEDGER@BMC

LET’S TALK: MEDICAL LEAVE

WHY ARE STUDENTS MADE TO LEAVE AFTER PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCIES? HOW CAN WE PUSH FOR CHANGE TO SCHOOL POLICIES TO RETURN AGENCY AND CHOICE TO STUDENTS?

FRIDAY APRIL 13

7-8PM

NEW DORM 2ND COMMON ROOM

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March 24, 2018
by Julian Ledger
1 Comment

3/29/17: A poem for processing and self affirmation

When they’re being nice, they call me
in crisis, confused, sick.
When they’re being honest, they call me
out of control, delusional, crazy.
Maybe I’m projecting.
But I think I heard them say
psycho, dangerous.
What do I call myself?
Marginalized.

I am sick.
But why does that mean I don’t belong?
Why can’t I be manic and still be a Mawrtyr?

Bryn Mawr celebrates the students that stay up all night studying,
but fears the ones who stay up because they can’t quiet the voices in their mind.
Why?

Why is there no room for me?

I left in the spring.
It happened so fast.
I didn’t want to.
But I couldn’t stay. Their choice, not mine.

Sometimes I wonder: If I didn’t have psychotic symptoms,
would they have let me stay?
Is that why they treated me like a child?
Is that why they took away any autonomy and agency I had left?

I came back in the fall.
Tell me: Why did I have to submit three doctor’s notes to come back?

What could they even have said?
We gave him meds. He’s still a little depressed,
but he knows where he is and where he’s going.
He’ll be nice, and quiet,
go to school when he’s supposed to, and sleep when he’s supposed to.
We’ll keep an eye on him, don’t worry.

In those notes, they don’t mention that I deserve to be at this elitist fucking college even if
I’m unhinged.

They won’t tell you, so I will.
I belong here, with my illness, my delusions,
my messiness, my crazy talk, my confusions.
All of me belongs here.
All of me. And no one can tell me otherwise.