The Daily Princetonian has a piece up, entitled Student files suit against U.:
Diane Metcalf-Leggette ’13 is suing the University for refusing to grant her extended time on examinations, the New Jersey Law Journal reported on Tuesday. Metcalf-Leggette, who filed the suit on Monday, claims that she should be given extra time on tests because of her learning disabilities.
Metcalf-Leggette, who is a varsity soccer player, requested a preliminary injunction to coincide with midterms, but the motion was denied by U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton earlier this week. Metcalf-Leggette argued that poor midterm exam grades would cause her “irreparable harm,” but Thompson said the University could deal with any issues after administering the tests.
…Metcalf-Leggette’s complaint asserted that she has four learning disabilities, which were diagnosed in 2003: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mixed-receptive-expressive language disorder, disorder of written expression and developmental coordination disorder. The conditions, according to the complaint, hinder her ability to focus, process information and communicate in writing…
She’s asked for an accommodation that’s been granted previously to at least one other student:
The suit comes after a series of meetings with school officials during which Metcalf-Leggette sought accommodation for her disabilities. The University currently accommodates Metcalf-Leggette’s disabilities by offering her a “reduced distraction testing environment,” a limit of one exam per day and a 10-minute break each hour, the law journal reported.
Metcalf-Leggette’s complaint also notes that her older brother, David Metcalf ’08, also had learning disabilities and received 100 percent time extensions on University exams. The complaint states that this accommodation was approved by the former director of the Office of Disability Services and was left in place “as a courtesy” by Eve Tominey, the current director, after she took over the position. Tominey declined to comment for this article.
As someone who has invisible disabilities, and who’s blogmistress Pam has disabilities that are becoming more visible, this story hits a nerve for me.
The rub of the piece is found in some of the online comments:
[The usual stupidity one sees in unmoderated, anonomous comments beleow the fold.]
• Ok, really?
Disorder of written expression has the following symptoms:
Errors in grammar and punctuation
Developmental coordination disorder is “a childhood disorder marked by poor coordination and clumsiness.”
Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder is diagnosed when a child has problems expressing him-or herself using spoken language, and also has problems understanding what people say to him or her.
These three are all CHILDHOOD disorders, meaning they occur in people usually ages 3-6
How can a functioning adult have these disorders? This seriously seems like psychiatric bullshit, no offence
• the whole case of learning disabiities is very interesting. aside from how disability is defined and whether it bars you from performing at an academic level at a place like princeton, it also brings up the issue of class. to be able to get a diagnosis of having a learning disability, to be able to take it to the university counsel and sue based on perceived discrimination has something to do with a person’s economic mobility or, put in another way, their financial ability. i wont even get into the issue of entitlement.
• so how did she get into princeton if she can;t express herself or learn? aren;t those the two main components of being smart?
oh yeah, she’s an athlete
come on shirley T, this is a explitive joke
• I have to wonder what Diane expects to happen after graduation. Does she expect her future employer to grant her special “time” to complete an assigned task? Will she even include on her resume her specific problems? Life isn’t fair. Deal with it, but don’t expect society to be accomodating, for it will not.
She should not be granted additional time. She should do the best she can under the same circumatances that others have to operate under. This is not a case of needing a ramp or a special desk. It is a case that effects her mental ability to perform in the real world at an expected level. Feel sorry for her – “yes”. Ignore her deficiences – “no”.
There’s a word for this in disability communities: Ableism (also spelled ablism). Merriam-Webster defines ableism as discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities. It seems to me that it’s the family of prejudices and hates that people express towards all peoples whose status, condition, or human experience they don’t share.
How is it that those who embrace their ableism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, sexism, etc. seem to lack empathy or sympathy for others that are too different from themselves? I’m never going to get that kind of inability to give deference to others’ needs and concerns on the same level that one would want others to give one’s own needs and concerns.