Wesley College Student Says School is Violating ADA - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wesley College Student Says School is Violating ADA


DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A deaf student at Wesley College says the school is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and his rights.

Patrick Kelly is an education major. He lives in Georgetown and goes to school at Wesley in Dover.

Kelly recently transferred to Wesley from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, where, because he is hearing-impaired, he had an American Sign Language interpreter.

"I left UMES with a 3.9 GPA," Kelly said. "When I transferred to Wesley College, I was told I would have an ASL interpreter. When I arrived at Wesley College, that was not true. It's been a fight to get that ASL interpreter. And since then my grades have gone down."

Kelly says Wesley isn't complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Originally I was trying to compromise and mediate things with them," he said. "But it's been a struggle."

Kelly says the school has offered him options, like an audio recording pen or a real-time captioning system. But Kelly says neither works well for him. He says he needs an asl interpreter, like he had before.

"Wesley College has told me that because of financial reasons, they would not," said Kelly. "They suggested to transfer to a different university, like University of Delaware."

Wesley officials wouldn't discuss the specific issue.

"Wesley College is committed to meeting the needs and assisting in the success of all of our students," the school said in a statement. "Wesley's policy regarding ADA compliance is to provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities."

Kelly is considering taking legal action to get the assistance he has requested.

The overarching question is what actions does the college have to take to be ADA compliant?

WBOC spoke with an expert on the ADA in Delaware who, speaking generally, says accommodations for a disability need to be "reasonable and readily achievable." the same expert says exactly what that means could be open to interpretation - perhaps by a court, if necessary.

Documents provided to WBOC by the US Departments of Justice and Education say, "An institution has flexibility in choosing the specific aid or service it provides to the student, as long as the aid or service selected is effective. These aids should be selected after consultation with the student who will use them."

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