Former Bethune-Cookman Student Sues over Alleged Weight Discrimination


Former Bethune-Cookman Student Sues over Alleged Weight Discrimination

Phylise Bowen claims university dance team director said she was too big for the team.

Published April 18, 2015

A former student is suing Bethune-Cookman University over an alleged weight discrimination incident from 2009. Phylise Bowen was pursuing a master degree at the time, and claims she was told to lose weight in order to try out for the school’s dance team, the 14K Gold Dancers.


Bowens complied, working out “five days a week, morning and night” to drop 20 pounds, yet it didn't work. She still wasn’t allowed to try out for the team. “To ask me to lose weight in order to join an organization that's hazing. You cannot do that,” she said in an interview with an Orlando news station. 

The lawsuit has been in the works for the last several years, attorney David Glasser said, asserting that the school breached the student handbook by turning Bowens away because of her weight. “She feels hurt by what happened,” he explained.  

Bowens is suing for a return in tuition paid, plus $15,000.

The university said in a statement that an investigation is underway adding, “B-CU is an equal opportunity institution and encourage all students to be actively involved in our campus extracurricular offerings." 

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(Photo: eccolo74 / Getty Images)

Written by Latifah Muhammad


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