A woman is suing Bethune-Cookman University after she said she was discriminated against while pursuing a master’s degree in 2009.
Phylise Bowens said she wanted to be a member of the 14K Gold Dancers, the school’s dance team, but said she wasn’t allowed to try out because of her weight.
She claimed when she met with the band director she was told to lose 20 pounds before she could even get an application.
“I did everything, I worked out five days a week morning and night,” Bowens said.
She said she did lose weight, but the transformation wasn’t enough and she was still denied a chance to try out.
“To ask me to lose weight in order to join an organization that’s hazing — you cannot do that,” Bowens said.
Her attorney, David Glasser, said the university violated the student handbook, breaching a contract with his client. In a complaint filed in court last week, they are asking for $15,000 and a refund of tuition already paid.
Bowens told Local 6 that the lawsuit is not just about the money.
“This is unacceptable and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she said.
“Our attorneys and administration are currently investigating this matter,” the university said in a statement. “B-CU is an equal opportunity institution and encourage all students to be actively involved in our campus extracurricular offerings.”
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