February 8, 2018 • 12–2PM ET

Students Who Pose a Risk of Self-Harm:
What Can Institutions Do?

In 2011, when the Department of Justice issued regulations on Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the regulations were silent as to any safe harbor that would have guaranteed colleges and universities reasonable discretion to address students who posed a threat of harm to themselves. Institutions struggled with how to keep students safe, without running afoul of the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) have issued several non-binding resolution agreements that affirm standard practices such as individualized assessments, accommodations, and leave policies; though institutions continue to tread carefully in the absence of more formal assurances from the Departments.

This webinar is a follow up to NACUA’s January 26 Briefing, in which Candice Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, described a set of principles, distilled from various enforcement actions, to guide colleges and universities as they endeavor to lawfully and meaningfully address the very serious issue of self-harm among college students.

In this two-hour webinar Paul Lannon of Holland & Knight, Hannah Ross, General Counsel of Middlebury College, and Madelyn Wessel, General Counsel of Cornell University, will address in greater depth the underlying legal requirements of Title II and Section 504, the application of the principles described by Ms. Jackson, and how colleges and universities should prepare to address instances of the threat of student self-harm. Issues to be addressed will include:

  • Lawful and meaningful practices for responding to self-harming students,
  • Use of health and safety requirements instead of “direct threat” analysis,
  • Individualized assessments, and
  • Voluntary and involuntary separations.

The webinar will be of interest to higher education attorneys who advise regarding compliance with the ADA and Section 504 and university administrators who handle campus responses to student mental health issues. 

Program Schedule

12:00 P.M. ET

I. Welcome, Introduction of Speakers, & Agenda

II. Underlying Legal Requirements of Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

III. Application of Guiding Principles to Address Instances of Self-Harm

2:00 P.M. ET

IV. Concluding Remarks


Paul Lannon

Paul Lannon
Paul Lannon is a litigation partner at Holland & Knight where he is Co-Chair of the firm's national Education Team.  Mr. Lannon serves as outside general counsel to several NACUA members and regularly defends colleges and universities in ...

Hannah Ross

Hannah Ross
Hannah Ross was appointed as the first General Counsel of Middlebury College on December 1, 2016.  She serves as the General Counsel to the liberal arts college in Vermont, as well as the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in ...

Madelyn Wessel

Madelyn Wessel
Madelyn Wessel is the University Counsel and Secretary of the Corporation, Cornell University. From 2014-1017, Madelyn served as the University Counsel for Virginia Commonwealth University and as a Senior Assistant Attorney General for the ...


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