Argenyi V. Creighton University
Argenyi V. Creighton University, No. 8:09CV341
Did Creighton University Medical School deny Mr. Argenyi “an equal opportunity to gain the same benefit from medical school as his nondisabled peers by refusing to provide his requested accommodations?” The student was denied CART and interpreter services. A jury may provide the answer to that question soon. This is an important case. The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals has previously ruled on some extremely significant issues. (No. 11-3336) They include:
It was not proper for the District Court to conclude that the student was not entitled to his requested accommodation unless he would be “effectively excluded from Creighton’s programs without them.”
The regulations require postsecondary institutions to provide auxiliary aids and services to enable individuals to fully and equally participate in their programs. The question of whether the aids and services provided by Creighton ensured effective communication must be answered.
The statements of students regarding the effectiveness of aids and services provided cannot be summarily rejected or disregarded as “unsupported self-serving allegations.” An individual’s experience regarding particular aids and services, as well as, their effect on effective communications is valid and relevant information.
Decisions about whether a particular auxiliary aid and/or service will be provided cannot be labeled as purely “academic” decisions entitled to deference when the issue of the impact on the essential requirements or the curriculum has not been addressed (i.e., Would the request result in a fundamental alteration?). Further, decisions not to provide aids or services for financial reasons are not entitled to deference.
The mere fact that a student passes a course without a particular auxiliary aid or service does not answer the question of whether the student was provided full and equal access to the program.
This case has the potential to provide substantial guidance regarding the balancing of the rights of students with disabilities and the protection of academic standards.