Mon January 13, 2014
Student's lawsuit alleges discrimination at Miami University
Update 1/13/14 at 1:55 PM: Miami University spokeswoman Claire Wagner said in an e-mail because the case involves a current student, the school will not comment on the complaint other than to deny the allegations.
Wagner said Miami is committed to the success of all of its students and Miami is committed to equal access.
"The specific needs of each student and employee with a disability are different and we determine how to accommodate those unique needs by engaging in an interactive dialogue or process with each individual," Wagner wrote in the e-mail. "That process involves the individual making our Office of Disability Resources aware of his or her needs, after which that office works him or her to provide an accommodation. That process is followed in every case."
A Miami University student is suing the school for discriminating against her based on a disability. Aleeha Dudley, who is blind, filed the case in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio with the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind.
A press release said Dudley's complaint alleges Miami University violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. She said the university deliberately failed to make modifications for her to complete her coursework.
Among other things, the university failed to provide textbooks and course materials in accessible formats, including Braille; failed to provide proper tactile graphics to represent visual components of course materials; purchased and deployed inaccessible course management and assignment software; and more. If these modifications had been made, Ms. Dudley would have been able to use text-to-speech software and a refreshable Braille display to obtain the information she needed to succeed in her courses.
Dudley alleges her grades have suffered and she's behind in her degree requirements because of the university's failure to make modifications it promised to make and that are required by federal law. She's pursuing a degree in zoology with hopes of attending veterinary schools.
A spokeswoman for the university said the school is working on a response to the lawsuit, but added Miami is committed to equal access.