Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Utah State Settles ADA Suit

See this article, which begins:

A discrimination lawsuit filed against Utah State University by deaf students who claimed the school was not providing adequate interpreting services has been settled.

Dale Boam, the attorney representing the students, said the lawsuit was settled in April with a promise by the school to have three full-time interpreters and keep deaf students involved and informed of interpretation issues.

"The biggest point of contention -- and it had gone on for years and years -- the students felt the school was not making an effort to provide adequate services," Boam said. "Having three full-time interpreters gives them a much stronger base to work from."

Twelve students filed the lawsuit in May 2006, contending the school was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because it was not providing them with appropriate services.

The students would request an interpreter for a class and would arrive to find someone not qualified for the task or a stenographer would be there to take notes for the student but not be able to help them participate in discussion, Boam said.

"One of the points of the agreement was a philosophical agreement that these note takers are not an interpreter. They don't provide an equivalent service," he said.

Angie Olsen, Utah State University deaf services coordinator, said the goal is to have one staff interpreter for every two students using interpreter services. Currently, USU has seven deaf students using interpreters and about 25 deaf or partially deaf students using notetakers.

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