This is what we wrote together at our meeting tonight. I (Julian) will be submitting this draft to Dean Walters on Monday 4/30/18.
First and foremost, we affirm that we as severely mentally ill students are members of this community. We belong at Bryn Mawr College. Being made to leave the community due to illness severely affects the student’s wellbeing, self esteem, and identity. Furthermore, home isn’t always a safe place or a good place for recovery. Leaving school mid-semester, especially when the student is not leaving voluntarily, is disruptive and can cause harm to the student. Considering all these factors, we believe that a student should never have to leave the community unless it is absolutely necessary. We affirm that students have the right to participate in academic and residential life unless they pose an imminent risk to the safety of themselves or others. We ask that the decision that a student is unable to live in the community be made in conversation with the student and their chosen medical provider, and that these decisions be made with clarity and transparency. It should always be clear who is making these decisions, and what they are based on. We ask that an appeals process be created for students who disagree with the decision.
Understanding that students know what they want and need, we affirm that students have the right to advocate for themselves. Furthermore, students have the right to advocate for themselves without the involvement of their parents/guardians. Understanding that the Health Center representative and the Dean’s Office both represent the legal interests of Bryn Mawr College, students have the right to seek out and work with a medical or legal professional who will advocate for them and their needs.
We ask that when these decisions are made, they be made with the understanding that a student’s situation can change over time. We ask that the college be open to receiving progress updates. We ask that the college allow students to return earlier than initially planned if they feel they are ready.
Students have the right to hear about the decision about their return from medical leave in a timely manner. We ask that the college be transparent about when applications are due, when committees will meet, and when decisions will be made. When returning from leave, we ask that the college prioritize the agency and autonomy of the student in making decisions about returning.