Mary Baldwin University Faces Federal Lawsuit Alleging Disability Discrimination
Written by: Sam Orlando
STAUNTON, VA - In an ongoing legal challenge in federal court, an anonymous plaintiff, identified as Doe, has filed a lawsuit against Mary Baldwin University, alleging intentional disability discrimination, hostile educational environment, and retaliation. The lawsuit is seeking damages for violations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
According to court documents filed by attorney Charles M. Henter of HenterLaw PLC, the student, diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety, alleges that after disclosing her disability, the university and some of its faculty members embarked on a course of action intended to remove her from the Physician Assistant (PA) Program.
The complaint reveals that the student, Doe, successfully completed all her academic requirements despite being discouraged and asked repeatedly by the university to withdraw from the program due to her disability. It further alleges that the university intentionally designed an accelerated program that they believed Doe would be unable to complete, in an effort to force her out of the program.
Furthermore, the university allegedly altered the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) format, forcing Doe to take all 14 subsections in a single day while non-disabled students only took seven subsections over two days.
Despite accommodations by the MBU Accessibility Office to extend Doe's exam time by 50%, the university refused to apply this accommodation to her OSCE exams, a move Doe's legal representation argues was designed to push her out of the program. The university is also accused of reporting false results, claiming that Doe failed both her OSCEs.
A Professor and the university are accused of altering or intentionally misgrading Doe's OSCEs to dismiss her from the PA Program due to her disability. This, the complaint states, violated both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
In addition to disability discrimination, the lawsuit also alleges a hostile educational environment and retaliation against the student after she requested a temporary medical leave of absence as an accommodation for her disabilities. The suit claims that, upon learning of Doe's request and supporting medical information, the university and its agents decided to force Doe out of the PA program.
The lawsuit demands compensatory damages, lost pay, lost tuition, tuition reimbursement, attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, medical expenses, loss of potential future employment, and loss of potential future earnings, among other reliefs.
The plaintiff's real name has been filed under a sealed document to protect her identity. The university has yet to issue a response to these allegations. Breaking Through has reached out to Mary Baldwin for a response and will update this article should we receive a response from the University. Further updates will be reported as the case unfolds.