On May 8, 2006, twelve deaf Utah State University students filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, against Utah State and its Board of Regents. The case was brought under Title II of the Americans with ...
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On May 8, 2006, twelve deaf Utah State University students filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, against Utah State and its Board of Regents. The case was brought under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, with the Plaintiffs alleging that the Defendants had discriminated against them in many ways, including: denying them access to the full benefit of the University's programs, services, and activities; failing to provide for effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services; failing or refusing to provide timely accommodations; utilizing discriminatory policies, practices and procedures that tend to screen out students who are deaf; and failing to meet the ADA's mandate to provide services in the most integrated setting. The students were represented by private counsel.
Factual allegations included: that the University failed to provide accommodations for the use of American Sign Language, by providing unqualified or under-qualified interpreters -- the University allegedly justified this by claiming that it could not find qualified interpreters, but declined to hire such qualified interpreters when students presented them the opportunity; that the University's program for providing notes to deaf students was inadequate to the point that notes were often provided to students only long after the tests or exams for which they were relevant had already occurred; that students were sometimes required to attend classes where no interpreters were provided; that in some such classes the University's proposed solution was to have students make audio recordings of classes and them have them transcribed later, forcing students to sit through classes they could not understand or participate in, and then review transcripts during their free time. There were further examples of similar alleged violations.
The plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment an injunction requiring Utah State to adopt written policies and training programs to correct the alleged violations and to require them to provide appropriate auxiliary aids, services, and accommodations. The plaintiffs also sought attorneys' fees and damages for financial loss and emotional distress.
On April 17, 2007, the parties entered a Stipulation and Joint Motion for Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice, requesting the court dismiss the case, which it did the following day. The parties had reached a settlement, the terms of which were not included in the Court record. According to news reports, the school promised to employ one full-time staff interpreter for every two deaf students who needed those services, with the interpreters to be available to students to interpret during classes, on-campus meetings and on-campus extracurricular activities. Transcript service and note-taking services would continue, and if students felt they were behind they could receive tutoring. Alex Colbert-Taylor - 06/03/2013