Brown University has come to one approval with the US Department of Justice and the Rhode Island District Attorney’s Office to protect the rights of students on vacation due to mental health problems.
That settlement concludes the Department’s investigation into Brown after determining that Campus guidelines prevented students who were suspended from college for mental health reasons from returning to school in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Under the agreement, Brown will adjust its Student Vacation Policy under Title III and pay the affected students $ 684,000. In addition, it must provide all teachers and staff with adequate training in assessing student leave requests.
“Students with disabilities deserve access to equal opportunities to ensure they can achieve their educational goals,” said the assistant attorney general Kristen Clarke.
“The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that colleges and universities do not exclude students because of their disabilities or because they have taken the time to get the treatment they need to thrive. We will continue to fight to ensure equal access for students with mental disabilities in colleges and universities across our country, ”she added.
Previous school policy
According to the Justice Department’s investigation, several students applied for readmission between fall 2012 and spring 2017 after applying for sick leave due to mental health problems.
However, their requests were denied because Browns politics dictates that medical time off should only last two full semesters, which may not be enough to treat certain medical conditions.
“Universities play a vital role in delivering the ADA’s promise of equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Rather than placing additional barriers on students wishing to return to campus after a medical vacation, universities must adequately accommodate students treating their mental disabilities, “said the acting US attorney for the Rhode Island borough Richard Myrus.
“The guidelines that Brown has agreed to implement should serve as timely reminders for other colleges and universities to ensure that their sick leave guidelines do not discriminate against students with mental disabilities,” concluded Myrus.
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