Photo Video
File photo of Miami University Creative Commons
Hide Caption

Blind student sues Miami University over alleged discrimination

a a a a
Share this story

OXFORD, Ohio – A blind student is suing Miami University over claims the school discriminated against her because of her disability.

Aleeha Dudley, who is pursuing a degree in zoology, alleges Miami University deliberately failed to make “necessary modifications” so she could complete her coursework.

"My dream of becoming a veterinarian has turned into a nightmare,” Dudley said. “I am pursuing this case not only for myself, but so that other blind students who matriculate at Miami University will not experience the same frustration, exhaustion and sadness that I feel today."

According to the suit, the university failed to provide textbooks and course materials in accessible formats, including Braille.

Dudley also claims Miami did not provide "proper tactile graphics to represent visual components of course materials," and purchased and deployed inaccessible course management and assignment software.

“If these modifications had been made, Ms. Dudley would have been able to use text-to-speech software and a refreshable Braille display to obtain the information she needed to succeed in her courses,” the lawsuit reads.

In the suit, Dudley alleges her grades have suffered and she is behind in her degree requirements because “Miami University's failure to make modifications that it promised to make and that are required by federal law.”

But former Miami student Heather Komnenovich said that cannot be the case.

Komnenovich, a 2005 graduate, said she also struggles with multiple disabilities and believes the faculty at Miami "bent over backwards" to help her succeed.

"(The director of the Office of Disability Resources) has done everything in his power to help me out so I didn't flunk my studies, and I had some issues," Komnenovich said. "He went out on a limb so I could graduate. I know he would make sure Aleeha was getting the same treatment."

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is assisting Dudley in her lawsuit. NFB President Dr. Marc Maurer said Dudley is one of many blind students who experience “frustrating and unnecessary barriers to a full and equal education.”

“Technology, if properly designed and implemented, can make it possible for students like Dudley to experience an equal education…but Miami University has ignored its legal and moral obligations and failed to procure accessible technology,” Maurer said. “The National Federation of the Blind cannot and will not tolerate such discrimination."

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Education
High school at Cincinnati State haven for gifted
High school at Cincinnati State haven for gifted

Attending high school at community college earns students two degrees, self-esteem and a focus on science and math learning.

US News: Six Tri-State schools named best
US News: Six Tri-State schools named best

Cincinnati Public Schools' Walnut Hills High School earned the No. 1 ranking in Ohio in U.S. News & World Report's annual survey,…

Some Catholics, teachers protest morality clause
Some Catholics, teachers protest morality clause

Thousands of teachers, parents and parishioners oppose the morality clause within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's teacher contract and…

Former supt. to serve two years for embezzlement
Former supt. to serve two years for embezzlement

A former superintendent of Dayton Independent Schools was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday for embezzling hundreds of thousands of…

Indiana panel approves new school standards
Indiana panel approves new school standards

A panel of Indiana business and education leaders is supporting new education benchmarks to replace the national Common Core standards.

Parents: Firing Clermont Co. principal a mistake
Parents: Firing Clermont Co. principal a mistake

The superintendent of the Clermont County School District says firing a principal had to be done, but parents and students believe he made a…

UC goes 'green' with new car charging station
UC goes 'green' with new car charging station

On Saturday, University of Cincinnati officials unveiled the first electric vehicle-charging station on or even around the Clifton campus.

Campus sexual assault: Xavier aims at redemption
Campus sexual assault: Xavier aims at redemption

This time of year, high school seniors are deciding where to go to college. For many young women and their parents, the issue of campus…

Fairfield teacher: I'm not sorry for what I said
Fairfield teacher: I'm not sorry for what I said

The day after he lost his job for making racially tinged comments about President Barack Obama, a former Fairfield Freshman School teacher…

NKU reforms aim to prevent another money scandal
NKU reforms aim to prevent another money scandal

Northern Kentucky University's former athletic director got away with stealing $311,000 during a six-year spree.

WCPO Education Reporter