[NFBOK-Talk] Blind student and US Department of Justice resolve Miami University of Ohio discrimination case

Jeannie Massay jmassay1 at cox.net
Mon Oct 17 21:49:26 UTC 2016

Media Contacts:

Stacy Brannan-SmithCommunications SpecialistDisability Rights
Ohio800-282-9181, ext. 101 sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org
<mailto:sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org> 

Chris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the
Blind410-659-9314, ext. 2330cdanielsen at nfb.org <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org> 

Blind student Aleeha Dudley and US Department of Justice resolve Miami
University of Ohio discrimination case
October 17, 2016
COLUMBUS, OH -- Attorneys for Aleeha Dudley have reached an agreement
t_agreement.pdf>  with Miami University after the school failed to provide
Ms. Dudley with equal and meaningful access to her curriculum to help her
attain educational success as a blind student studying zoology. As part of a
separate consent decree
10-17-16.pdf>  reached with the United States Department of Justice, Miami
University will change its practices for obtaining and utilizing technology,
including requirements to make its website accessible, to ensure Learning
Management Software is accessible, and to educate faculty and staff about
the importance of accessibility and how to achieve this. It will also be
easier for students to obtain accessible course materials in all formats,
including ebooks and Braille.
The agreement for Ms. Dudley, negotiated by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO),
the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the law firm of Brown, Goldstein
& Levy, and Ohio State University Professor Ruth Colker, requires Miami
University of Ohio to contribute $108,000 to help Dudley pay for her
education at the university of her choosing. It will also repay $50,000 in
student loans she and her parents took out for her education at Miami, in
addition to paying $102,000 as compensation for the pain and suffering she
experienced as a result of the discrimination. 
With the support of the NFB, DRO and Brown, Goldstein & Levy filed the
initial complaint on behalf of Dudley in January 2014 in the US District
Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The US Department of Justice joined
the case in June 2015. 
Ms. Dudley said: "I am pleased that Miami University and I have reached an
agreement that will allow me to continue to pursue my education so that I
can achieve my goal of becoming a large-animal veterinarian. I also hope and
believe that the consent decree into which the university has entered with
the Department of justice will substantially improve the educational
experience of current and future blind students at Miami University. No
blind student, at any modern institution of higher education, should
encounter the barriers that I experienced. My only intention throughout this
process has been to further my own education and to make things better for
other blind students. I hope my experience, trying as it was for me
personally, now results in an equal education for Miami University students
who are blind or who have other disabilities."
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:
"Blind students cannot take advantage of educational opportunities and go on
to live the lives they want unless course content and the technologies used
in the modern classroom are accessible to them. Aleeha Dudley's experience
shows that inaccessible content and technology create significant barriers
to educational achievement, and that is why the National Federation of the
Blind has advocated and will continue to advocate for accessibility in
higher education institutions across the nation. We are pleased that this
matter has come to a successful resolution and believe that the steps Miami
University will take going forward, as laid out in the most comprehensive
roadmap to accessibility that has yet been included in a consent decree,
will create an inclusive learning environment on its campus and serve as a
model for other colleges and universities."
Kerstin Sjoberg-Witt, Director of Advocacy for DRO said: "DRO has been so
pleased to collaborate with the National Federation of the Blind and Ms.
Dudley on our shared goal of ensuring equal access to students with
disabilities. Our coalition is also grateful to the Department of Justice
for its role in obtaining the comprehensive consent decree. We hope that
every successful accessibility case will make it easier for students in the
future to get the accommodations they need. Colleges and universities around
the country should take note and work to make content and technology choices
that will allow all potential students to tap into their educational
resources. "
About Disability Rights Ohio: Disability Rights Ohio is the federally and
state designated Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance
Program for the state of Ohio. The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to
advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities
in Ohio. Disability Rights Ohio provides legal advocacy and rights
protection to a wide range of people with disabilities.
About the National Federation of the Blind: The National Federation of the
Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or
your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because
low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You
can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.


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