ADA Mediation

The student in question meets the definition of “disabled” under the ADA which is “a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one’s ability to perform ‘a major life activity’” (Deskin Law Firm, 2010). Therefore, confinement to a wheelchair makes the student fir to be termed as disabled under the Act (Wolffe, Jerry, 2008). Therefore, the State College being a place Public Accommodation has the responsibility to offer “reasonable accommodation” (Deskin Law Firm, 2010) to this particular student. Generally speaking, the college should make sure that this student accesses and uses the music building on campus just like any other student who is not disabled.

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The State College should add ramps to make the music building ADA compliant under Title III - Public Accommodations (and Commercial Facilities) of the Act. Failure to do so, the College will be discriminating the student on the wheelchair according to the definition under Title III of “failure to remove” architectural obstacles in existing buildings. This means that since the music building has not been modified by adding ramps after the ADA was enacted, the College still has obligations to do so.

However as the College counters this “removal of barriers” (Deskin Law Firm, 2010) to bring the building to a condition into compliance with the ADA, the standard is that this modification is not readily achievable. The addition of the ramps, as countered by the College, is not easily accomplished. They give evidence that modification will cause over $1 million and if this can be verified and found to be true, then it is evident that such a modification is expensive and not achievable. In addition, the modification as expensive as it will, only serves to accommodate one student. This is too much money to be spent only on one person with no certainty that the college will receive such students in future. Under the same Title III of the ADA, the College is not bound by the Act to carry out the modifications because it is a historic property of over 200 years and has a historical architectural significance. It is important to know that the College can only enjoy this exception if the music building is a property designated as historic under the local or State law or if it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If not, the State College has to comply with requirements of Title III of the ADA to the “maximum possible extent” (Deskin Law Firm, 2010).

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