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Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Why Students Continue to Fight for Accessibility

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

As COVID-related safety measures decrease, many colleges and universities are returning to pre-pandemic approaches to education. Recently, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a story that highlights how COVID-precautions actually helped many students who required accommodations.

The article states, “Disabled students at colleges across the country are lamenting the loss of Covid-era hybrid learning and safety measures, like masking, that created a level of accessibility that some disabled students have been requesting for years.”

Let's take a closer look at some of the examples from the article.

Accessibility Advocates Fight for Continued Inclusion Amid COVID-Related Concerns

Courtney Bergan is a law student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore law school; they have a visual impairment (and a service dog) that were not obvious to others over Zoom during fall of 2020 when classes were online. At this time, they realized that people treated them differently than they had during in-person classes.

When the campus returned to in-person learning, Bergan was denied an accommodation that allowed them to participate remotely in class. Instead, they were instructed to watch recordings.

Bergan is the Lead Organizer for COVID Safe Campus, which two students founded in January 2022 in order to advocate for better COVID protections and disability inclusion in higher education. The organization also tracks the COVID policies at U.S. News & World Report's top-ranked 50 universities and top 25 public-health schools.

You Have a Right to Reasonable Accommodations

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act guarantee “qualified individuals with disabilities” reasonable accommodations.

A lack of reasonable accommodations can make it more challenging for students to learn subject material in the classroom. This can have a cascading impact, such as a result of academic issues, which can lead to a failure to progress. Additionally, as in Bergan's experience, students can experience discrimination and bias in the classroom.

As the article noted, fighting on your own for accommodations can be exhausting. Self-advocacy is also not always the most effective approach. Students can get stuck in an administrative back and forth. A better alternative might be to consider working with an advocate who has experience with college administrations.

Nationwide Disability Accommodations Attorney-Advisor to Help You Access Reasonable Accommodations

If your university or college isn't providing you with the accommodations you need, an attorney-advisor with disability accommodations experience is critical.  Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have worked with hundreds of students and families nationwide. They can bring their many years of experience to your situation and help you navigate the process at your school in order to achieve the best possible results. Not only do you deserve reasonable accommodations, but you are guaranteed them by federal law. Contact the Lento Law Firm today with your questions by calling 888.535.3686 or reaching out online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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