New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

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Distressed & Suicidal Students; Disability Discrimination; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity

Resolution Agreement Between the Office for Civil Rights and Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Voluntary Resolution Agreement entered into between the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Rutgers University regarding the involuntary withdrawal of a student who posed a substantial risk of harm.  The cover letter and accompanying Resolution Agreement deemed Rutgers’ “Safety Intervention Policy” (“the Policy”) to be facially neutral.  This Policy authorizes Rutgers to intervene or involuntarily withdraw students “who pose a credible substantial risk of harm to individuals within the University or to the University community; or substantially impede the lawful activities, the educational process, or the proper activities or functions of other members of the University Community.”  It also sets forth criteria for university officials to conduct individualized assessments based on “reasonable judgment,” calls on a case-by-case basis for medical and psychological evaluations to be conducted by independent and objective health professionals, and allows reasonable conditions to be placed on a student’s return to campus. The terms of the Resolution Agreement require Rutgers to conduct an individualized assessment, pursuant to its existing Policy, to ascertain whether the complainant can safely return to campus, and whether Rutgers deems her eligible to return to campus or not, specifies how missed coursework will either be made up or denoted on the student’s transcript. 

Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity; Distressed & Suicidal Students; Disability Discrimination; Retaliation

Noelle Ibrahim v. Lucas Pena (S.D.N.Y. August 21, 2017)

Order granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff, a Columbia University alumna suffering from psychiatric illness, alleged that the University violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and several state laws, when it refused to accommodate her request for counseling services and barred her from campus. The court held that Plaintiff failed to plausibly allege that the University discriminated against her based on her disability, since Plaintiff neither identified a reasonable accommodation nor any action on Defendant’s part that denied her full and equal access to Columbia’s services. Further, the court found that Plaintiff failed to assert a plausible ADA retaliation claim because she provided no proof of engaging in a “protected activity.” The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims.