Omaha, Nebraska – The final barrier to a medical education fell today in the historic case of Michael Argenyi v. Creighton University. After a four year legal battle, a federal judge ordered Creighton University to provide captioning and interpreters so that Michael Argenyi can at long last complete his medical education.
Argenyi, who is deaf, was accepted to Creighton University School of Medicine in 2009, on the basis of his strong academic record. However, despite accepting the highly qualified Argenyi, Creighton refused to provide captioning and interpreters for Argenyi so that he could have the same opportunities as every other student and participate in his classes and clinical training. Even though this refusal violates federal law, Argenyi was forced to take out loans to pay for the captioning and interpreting services he needed to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. However, Creighton then prohibited Argenyi from using interpreters in clinical training even if he paid for the services himself. Argenyi had no choice but to take a leave of absence pending the decision of the federal court.
In September, a federal jury returned a verdict for Argenyi, and found that Creighton University had discriminated against Argenyi in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The jury also found that it was not an undue burden for Creighton to pay the cost of the interpreter services.
Both the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require universities to provide full and equal access to students with disabilities, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Universities are required to provide deaf and hard of hearing students with effective communication for all of their courses and activities, and are prohibited from requiring students with disabilities to pay the cost of services such as interpreters and captioning.
Today’s decision clears the way for Argenyi to complete his medical education at Creighton , which must provide him with the interpreters and captioning he should have had all along.
Disability Rights Nebraska is the protection and advocacy system dedicated to protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities in the State of Nebraska
The National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for, deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States.
Stein & Vargas, LLP is a civil rights firm committed to the principle that all people have full and equal access to all parts of society.
Contact Information: Mary Vargas
This is the second press release regarding this case, read the first press release.