Grossman_Making_Accommodations.doc - Making Accommodations The Legal World of Students with Disabilities Everybody benefits when colleges serve students

Grossman_Making_Accommodations.doc - Making Accommodations...

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Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilities Everybody benefits when colleges serve students with disabilities By Paul D. Grossman Note: The author grant's permission to copy, reproduce, distribute and post this article for any not-for-profit educational purpose provided that the article is reproduced in its entirety. Any reproduction must include citation to Academe and the notation that the article was not reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Cite as: Paul D. Grossman, Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilities, 87 Academe: Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, 41-46 (November-December 2001). The law requires colleges and universities to make special arrangements for students with disabilities, but not by lowering academic standards. For more than twenty years, Paul Grossman has been the chief regional attorney of the San Francisco office of the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. He is also adjunct professor of disability law at the University of California's Hastings College of Law. Recently, for his work in the field of students with disabilities, the author received honors from the Department of Education, the Association for Higher Education and Disability, and the California Association of Post-Secondary Educators of Persons with Disabilities. He wrote this article entirely in his private capacity. Neither of his employers reviewed or approved the text. BY PAUL D. GROSSMAN My brother sat in the wheelchair he had used for the past five years, ever since cancer had reached his spine in 1991. As a teacher and a disability lawyer, I was curious to find out whether he regretted entering and persevering through law school well after he understood that his cancer would never remit. His response to my query was remarkably clear. Attending law school had been one of the wisest choices in his life. As his body gradually lost the physical indicia of life-eating, sex, and mobility-he remained a human being, affirmed by his ability to think, learn, and persuade. Only his deep faith matched the opportunity to learn in sustaining his spirit through an otherwise terrible journey to the end of his life. My brother entered Rutgers School of Law in 1992 and died shortly after his 1996 admission to the New Jersey Bar. Had he wasted a seat at a fine, competitive law school, or had he exemplified for students and faculty alike the most inherent and fundamental value of engaging in higher learning? Had his exclusive reliance on the Internet and computers to conduct legal research, without being able physically to bring a book down from a shelf, demonstrated the irrelevance of paper media or merely lowered academic standards? In the competitive environment of law school, was it unfair that he got extra time to complete his examinations? Had his class discussed whether the law was an
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effective tool for addressing the biggest barrier he faced to completing his internship: snow?
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