Bethune-Cookman alum claims she wasn’t allowed to audition for dance team because of weight

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HBCUs have been known for having voluptuous dance lines for years, but now one of them is being sued for allegedly denying a student an opportunity audition due to her weight. Phylise Davis-Bowens is suing Bethune-Cookman because she says she was denied the opportunity to try out for the school’s “14 Karat Gold dancers” because of her weight, according to the Daytona News Journal.

“I was asked to play an instrument instead because of my body weight,” Phylise Davis-Bowens said Friday during a phone call that also included her attorney, David Glasser, on the line. “I was told I didn’t have the overall look.”

The 42-year-old entered BCU in 2009 hoping to join the prestigious dance team, which often participates in the Honda Battle of the Bands. She says she was initially asked to drop 20 pounds before auditioning. She lost 60.

But according to her lawsuit, even that wasn’t enough.

The band director told her she did “not have the necessary body weight,” according to the suit. She said she was never given a chance to audition. “I have two arms and two legs,” she said Friday. “To me, that’s the only thing necessary to audition.”

B-CU Spokeswoman Keisha Boyd told the News Journal on Thursday that she’s not aware of any weight requirements dance team members must meet. She said the school is investigating the matter.

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