Brown College Required to Guarantee Equal Entry for College students with Psychological Well being Disabilities | USAO-RI
PROVIDENCE, RI – The United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice today announced a settlement agreement with Brown University to ensure that students with mental disabilities have equal access to educational programs. The agreement resolves the department’s findings that Brown University violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not allowing students who had been on medical leave for psychological reasons to return to school despite being ready were to return to campus life.
The settlement agreement protects the right of students with mental disabilities to equal access to Brown’s educational programs. The agreement also ensures that Brown will make appropriate changes to its policy for students with mental disabilities who wish to return from a medical vacation.
Title III of the ADA requires that public housing such as colleges and universities offer people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, equal opportunities to participate in their programs and services. The ADA also requires colleges and universities to make appropriate changes to their policies for students with disabilities as necessary.
The U.S. Attorney’s and Justice Department’s investigation found that between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2017, dozens of students were denied readmission to Brown after taking psychiatric hiatus. These students qualified for return to Brown, and each of the student treatment providers reported to Brown that the students were ready to resume their studies and participate in campus life. However, the US Attorney General and the Department found that Brown denied the students’ readmission applications, which deprived those students of the opportunity to participate in and benefit from Brown’s educational programs.
Based on the agreement announced today, Brown will:
• Revised their study leave policies and practices in line with Title III of the ADA;
• Provide training on Title III of the ADA to all faculties and staff responsible for evaluating or making decisions on claims for use or return from leave of absence; and
• Pay $ 684,000 to compensate the injured students.
“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 Acting US Attorney Richard Myrus. “I would like to thank Brown University for their cooperation during our investigation and their willingness to both address the issues identified and to compensate the students who were wrongly denied readmission. The guidelines, which Brown has agreed to implement, should serve as a timely reminder for other colleges and universities to ensure that their sick leave guidelines do not discriminate against students with mental disabilities. “
“Students with disabilities deserve access to equal opportunities to ensure they can achieve their educational goals. The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that colleges and universities do not exclude students because of their disabilities or because they took the time to get the treatment they need to be successful, ”said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Department. “We will continue to fight for students with mental disabilities to have equal access to colleges and universities in our country.”
This matter was handled jointly by Assistant US Attorney Amy Romero of the US Attorney’s Office for the Rhode Island District and the Department of Disability Rights of the Department of Civil Rights at the Department.
July 26, 2021 marks the 31st anniversary of ADA. The Ministry of Justice plays a central role in promoting the national goal of equal opportunities, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. More information about the Civil Rights Department can be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt. For more information about ADA, please call the Department’s ADA toll-free information line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov. ADA complaints can be filed online at http://www.ada.gov/complaint.
For more information about the US Attorney’s civil rights programs, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usao-ri.