Justice Division Reaches Settlement with Previous Dominion College to Resolve Incapacity Discrimination Criticism | OPA
Today, the Department of Justice announced a settlement agreement with Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia to resolve an investigation into a complaint discriminating against ODU for her disability and related request for appropriate policy changes against a graduate student and retaliation has seized. The Civil Rights Department conducted the investigation under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973.
“Students should never have to choose between their right to request appropriate changes in policy for their disabilities and their academic achievement,” said Gregory B. Friel, deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. “This agreement reflects the critical role colleges and universities – as well as their faculties and staff – play in delivering on the promise of the ADA and Section 504. By working in good faith with students to make appropriate changes to the policy, colleges and universities can ensure this. Students with disabilities have unrestricted and equal access to educational opportunities at the highest academic level. ”
The investigation revealed that the complainant sought recognition of her right to appropriate amendments to the guidelines and was punished for doing so in violation of Title II and Section 504. The department concluded that after a dispute over the student’s application and due to her disability, the student’s working relationship with her professor-advisor removed the student from the professor’s lab, disconnected her from ongoing research, and moved their participation in a specialist conference. The complainant was forced to change her course of study and find a new advisor.
ODU worked together throughout the investigation and is committed to fully complying with its legal obligations under ADA and Section 504. The Settlement Agreement obliges ODU to develop and disseminate a retaliation policy that explains and clarifies the ADA and Section 504 obligations for all employees and faculties. ODU will impose consequences up to termination of those who violate the policy. ODU will also offer comprehensive ADA training for administrators, faculties and employees. Finally, the agreement requires ODU to pay the complainant $ 40,000 in monetary damages.
Enforcing the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a top priority for the Civil Rights Department. For more information on the Citizens’ Rights Department, visit their website at www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the work of the Department of Education Opportunities, please visit https://www.justice.gov/crt/educational-opportunities- section. Members of the public can report possible violations of civil rights at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/.