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  1. #1
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    Default College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    My question involves education law in the State of: Massachusetts

    Hi helpful people,

    I'm a student who was going to school in Massachusetts, and left just before the end of my 4th semester. I had been diagnosed with depression and ADD in college, and took a leave to address these issues, on good terms with my school.

    I qualified for, and took, a medical break, where the dean from our school emailed me with terms to agree to, outlining expectations for my time away, and asked me to respond, agreeing to the contract. I never emailed my agreement to the terms. The dean seems to have not noticed (this was 18 months ago), and I've been treated as away on a medical break, though I'm fairly sure I never signed anything, and didn't electronically agree as I was "supposed to".

    Her letter from my time of leaving, 18 months ago, outlined that I was to take 2+ classes at a 4-year college, and continue seeing mental health professionals during my time away. The email ended with the ominous statement "Please acknowledge your agreement with the terms of your Medical Withdrawal by responding to this e-mail; if you do not respond, you may be ineligible to request readmission."

    Again, I never responded to this email, so I'm not bound to any contracts, I essentially just left, on good terms, where everyone "thinks" I'm on a Medical break.


    Now's where the not-so-fun stuff begins.

    I applied for readmission after 1 semester, and I was told that I could not return to school, since I had not gotten psychological or neuropsychological testing.

    A semester later, I had gotten the neuropsychological testing done, but the head of their Mental Health department wanted a "full" printout of my psychological testing, instead of the one I sent in. So for the second semester in a row, I was denied access to a college education, because my school wants me to get more medical tests. I've seen that in the ADA, it says that employers cannot require someone to get medical tests due to their disability. I'd assume the same holds for colleges and their students.

    Ponder that for a moment, I was DENIED an educational experience on the basis of my (mental) medical condition. The ADA enables students with ADD to get extra time on tests; wouldn't denying someone an entire year of college education, on the basis of their mental illness, be considered a way more serious violation of the rights of the disabled?

    The only way I can see them "covering their asses" is with the electronic agreement (which, again, I never submitted!)

    So:
    A) I think they have been illegally discriminating on the basis of my disability, under the assumption that I entered a contract, which I did not.
    B) If I sue them, what could I gain? Readmission? Money for illegally denying me a year's worth of education? Would they fight it or just let me back in, or settle out of court with money?
    C) If I sue them, can they deny my readmission, since I never responded to the email? If they're clearly intending to let me back "if I do X, Y, Z", can they go back on that just because I sue them for an ADA violation?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ada: Didn't Sign Contract, College Readmission Denied Pending Medical Tests

    You are not getting money for "denying you a years worth of education." Sorry. It would be a long tough slog in a civil rights lawsuit to recover any sort of damages presuming there actually was intentional discriminatory behavior. The private lawsuit remedy is primarily limited to injunctive relief (forcing accommodations, etc...).

    The first step is to file a internal complaint with the ADA/504 coordinator at the university. When that failed you can them either start your private suit in federal court and/or make a formal complaint to the Dept. of Education civil rights office.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ada: Didn't Sign Contract, College Readmission Denied Pending Medical Tests

    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    View Post
    The email ended with the ominous statement "Please acknowledge your agreement with the terms of your Medical Withdrawal by responding to this e-mail; if you do not respond, you may be ineligible to request readmission."
    There's nothing ominous about the statement.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    Again, I never responded to this email, so I'm not bound to any contracts, I essentially just left, on good terms, where everyone "thinks" I'm on a Medical break.
    Why the scare quotes? Aren't you on a medical leave?

    Your failure to respond to the email triggers this language: "if you do not respond, you may be ineligible to request readmission". You have now been informed of the terms for readmission.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    I applied for readmission after 1 semester, and I was told that I could not return to school, since I had not gotten psychological or neuropsychological testing.

    A semester later, I had gotten the neuropsychological testing done, but the head of their Mental Health department wanted a "full" printout of my psychological testing, instead of the one I sent in.
    We can't read the correspondence from here, but you have suggested that the college wanted neuropsychological testing and documentation of your psychological progress and that you chose not to provide the latter. Why would they want to set you up for a repeat performance of the mental breakdown that led to your prior withdrawal? Also, colleges have heightened concern these days over whether students they admit pose a potential risk of harm to themselves or others.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    So for the second semester in a row, I was denied access to a college education, because my school wants me to get more medical tests.
    You were denied readdmission, as you were warned could happen, because you failed to document that you were sufficiently recovered from your mental illness to successfully and safely continue your course of study. You were not "denied access to a college education" - there are colleges all over the nation, and you can apply to any one that you choose.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    I've seen that in the ADA, it says that employers cannot require someone to get medical tests due to their disability. I'd assume the same holds for colleges and their students.
    Provisions limited to employers would only apply to colleges if you work for them. Also, "After a person starts work, a medical examination or inquiry of an employee must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. Employers may conduct employee medical examinations where there is evidence of a job performance or safety problem, examinations required by other Federal laws, examinations to determine current oefitnessÓ to perform a particular job, and voluntary examinations that are part of employee health programs."
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    Ponder that for a moment, I was DENIED an educational experience on the basis of my (mental) medical condition.
    No, you weren't. You were denied readmission to a college because you failed to comply with their notice instructing you of the steps you needed to take to regain readmission, and refused to document that you were sufficiently recovered from your mental illness that you would not simply repeat the events that led to your prior withdrawal.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    The ADA enables students with ADD to get extra time on tests; wouldn't denying someone an entire year of college education, on the basis of their mental illness, be considered a way more serious violation of the rights of the disabled?
    The extra time, for certain disabilities, is deemed a "reasonable accommodation". There's nothing reasonable about your expectation that the college will ignore your past history of mental illness when considering your application for readmission.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    A) I think they have been illegally discriminating on the basis of my disability, under the assumption that I entered a contract, which I did not.
    You are confused about the legal implications of the notice you received. As it explicitly stated, your lack of cooperation could make you ineligible for readmission. The college has told you what you need to do to be readmitted, and you are refusing to take those steps. You are bringing this outcome on yourself.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    B) If I sue them, what could I gain?
    From what you've told us so far, at least to the extent of what a court might order, probably nothing. You have given us no basis to believe that the college's demands are unreasonable, and have provided no explanation for your refusal to comply with their conditions for readmission. Perhaps there are some important facts you left out?
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    C) If I sue them, can they deny my readmission, since I never responded to the email?
    The one has nothing to do with the other.
    Quote Quoting collegeADA
    If they're clearly intending to let me back "if I do X, Y, Z", can they go back on that just because I sue them for an ADA violation?
    Why do you believe that their request that you document recovery from your mental breakdown, to an extent sufficient to enable you to complete a course of study, is an ADA violation? If it bears repeating, you're not an employee and your impression about what can be demanded of employees is incorrect.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    Many colleges require sufficient documentation, when you have left even temporarily on a psych, that you are not a threat to others on campus. This includes weekend commitments.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    Quote Quoting Disagreeable
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    Many colleges require sufficient documentation, when you have left even temporarily on a psych, that you are not a threat to others on campus. This includes weekend commitments.
    If they do, they are in blatant violation of the ADA/Section 504. They can not discriminate no matter what the imagined threat. Unless this person was convicted or adjudicated criminally insane, they have no business even ASKING about mental issues, let alone demanding testing.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    Public safety overides HIPPA.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    Quote Quoting Disagreeable
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    Public safety overides HIPPA.
    First off, it's HIPAA and it doesn't apply here and public safety doesn't override it.

    The public safety allegations aren't even known to exist, it is your fantastic supposition.

    Imagined public safety concerns do not thwart the student's CIVIL RIGHTS nor their protections under the ADA which applies to just about any school and Section 504 of the rehab act which applies to anything that has taken any federal assistance. You're 200% wrong on this. They can not throw road blocks up in the way alleging mental health problems. If they have unbiased indication that the student is not qualified to attend, then he may need to assert a disability under the acts.

    I have told him what his statutory recourse is, you're not helping by throwing out completely spurious an incorrect information.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    In case you could not tell, I am having a bad day. I am not up to researching the leg work for the statutes. Just Google "college require psychiatric clearance to readmit student" and you will discover it is in fact standard policy to require a clearance.
    http://www.myacpa.org/comm/ccaps/doc...alResource.pdf

    See page 16.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    In response to the concerns about safety outlined above: this leave was taken on my own initiative, and all psychologists/psychiatrists that I've seen would consider me to NOT pose any safety hazard to myself or those around me. So the notion that safety concerns trump normal procedure would be pure conjecture on behalf of the school administration.

    Additionally, Mr.KnowItAll, there is not any additional information I am witholding. I am trying to present this in a fairly objective manner, to promote valid legal analysis.

    In response to information in that pamphlet, it seems to say that verifying safety for one's self and others is all that can be required. Any requirements beyond that, would probably be contingent upon me having agreed to the contract, which *would have* waived my right to not have my disability considered against me.


    ADA, Section 504 (from ada.gov)
    Section 504 states that "no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under" any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service.

    Each Federal agency has its own set of section 504 regulations that apply to its own programs. Agencies that provide Federal financial assistance also have section 504 regulations covering entities that receive Federal aid. Requirements common to these regulations include reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities; program accessibility; effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities; and accessible new construction and alterations. Each agency is responsible for enforcing its own regulations. Section 504 may also be enforced through private lawsuits. It is not necessary to file a complaint with a Federal agency or to receive a "right-to-sue" letter before going to court.
    My institution receives federal money for research.

    In fact, I myself have held two research positions with scientific labs at my university. These labs were certainly funded by federal grants, which it seems opens them to liability.

    However, these were unpaid research positions (academic credit on my transcript).

    It's not clear to me whether loss of this job opportunity is relevant though, since it was unpaid and I didn't hold it while I left. However, I am now ineligible because they are seemingly requiring testing that an employer cannot require of an employee.

    Additionally, I held a paid, non-academic job with my university, that I am now considered ineligible for. I did not hold this position at the time that I left school. However, overall, it seems very reasonable to consider my school to be an employer of mine.

    A condition of me returning to such a position, whether paid or unpaid, is being held dependent upon this readmission!

    That is to say, this directly affects my ability to obtain these paid and unpaid positions that I'm interested in. Employment law very well may be involved, since these positions explicitly require undergraduate student status, which they are holding contingent upon medical tests that cannot be required as a condition of employment. This sounds quite questionable to me.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: College Readmission Denied Pending Psychological Tests

    Your link is irrelevant. Read page 16 of the link I provided. All IHE's are legally permitted to operate within the parameters outlined.

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