What kind of nonsense is this? A young Asian lady who stands 5-foot-2 and weighing 92 pounds isn’t all that unusual. Nor was she purging or starving herself; on the contrary she tried to gain weight by overeating. The point is, who’s business is it how much she weighs? Would Yale threaten to put someone on medical leave if they weighed too much by their standards?
Frances Chan says she’s done stuffing her face with ice cream and Cheetos just to make Yale University happy. After months of wrangling, the university finally agrees.
The 20-year-old history major has spent the past few months sparring with Yale’s health center over her low weight. Chan is 5’2” and 92 lbs., and Yale doctors were concerned her health was severely at risk.
She contended that she’s always been very thin, as were her parents and grandparents at her age.
Yet until Friday, Yale had been telling Chan she might be forced to leave school if she didn’t put on some pounds.
“It felt really bad to be this powerless,” Chan said, taking in some afternoon sun in a campus courtyard. “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.”
Chan’s battle over her weight began last year. In September, she went to Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven to have a breast lump checked. The lump was benign, but the visit led Yale Health to take a closer look at Chan’s overall health.
Then they decided she needed to beef up.
Meanwhile, Chan’s parents in New Jersey contacted Yale Health officials to explain that she’d always been thin, but healthy. Chan’s family also sent Yale her childhood medical records and had a family doctor contact Yale.
By the time spring break rolled around, Chan decided she’d had enough. Spurred on by friends and other classmates, she wrote an essay about her experience for the Huffington Post. As a result of that piece, Chan began hearing from others who’d been through the same thing.
“It’s something we need to bring attention to,” Chan said. “I don’t want to get kicked out of school, but no one, so far, has been willing to stand up for me.”
Absurd. Whose business is it other than Chan’s how much she weighs?