A History of a Failure to Accommodate

For two-years, officials at Howard University have steadfastly refused to accommodate a medical student’s disability.

Howard University failed to make the available testing accommodations where needed to ensure that Mr. Doe demonstrated his aptitude and achievement, rather than his disability on the standardized exams. Furthermore, Howard University failed to uphold its basic administrative duties as well — failing to register the student for required classes on time and denying him a copy of the course materials in a timely manner.

In the complaint Madison and Tease v. Howard University and Nickelberry, filed on September 28, 2018, in DC Superior Court, the Plaintiffs allege that some of the same or similar accusations against Howard University. This complaint — along with many others — strongly support the notion that there is a systemic pattern of disregard for those who are disabled. There is a pattern of retaliation, violating students’ rights, and failing to accommodate students with disabilities in the Howard University System. In this complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Howard officials’ actions purposefully violated regulatory rules concerning students. In the case of Mr. Doe, Howard purposefully violated the ADA regarding his disability accommodations and subsequently committed bias related acts of retaliation and violated his civil and student rights.

In Mannuella v. Dartmouth College, the plaintiff’s attorney, Rosemarie Arnold, stated that it is unusual for a student to sue an institution that does not provide them with accommodations because such lawsuits typically require students to pay expensive attorneys’ fees. Accordingly, institutions like Howard University have failed to truly grapple with the inherent inequities and systemic injustices that clearly pervade the current university administration. The time has come to shine a light on the voices of those who have too rarely been heard — the disabled students simply seeking a fair shot to make the most of their talents and abilities.

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