Fmr. Student Sues for Disability Discrimination
Omaha, NE -- A former Midland University student is suing the institution, claiming they expelled him because of his disability. In February 2010, Hans Andersen was just two classes shy of a career in nursing when everything changed. He was working on his 2nd degree with the help of scholarships from Midland University, all while living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Anderson says he needed some extra help in a class to make sure he graduated. But instead of helping he claims a faculty member belittled him, and discussed his medications in a public setting. When Anderson brought his concerns forward, he says he was expelled the next day.
"Education is the one thing nobody can take from me,” Andersen explained. “It's been a hard time. The last semester when I was this close to graduating midland stole my education from me."
Court documents say Midland University knew he had ADHD. Anderson alleges he was discriminated against because of his disability and was never given a fair chance to state his case. His attorney says they weren't justified in dismissing him.
"Generally he was an A and B student who had been on the dean's list, this is a bright kid,” said Andersen’s Attorney Jeff Wagner. "I do know there are lots of young people out there with ADHD that are struggling and want to go to college. If I had ADHD and I was treated like Hans was treated I don't know if I would bother to go."
The U.S. District Court indicates the Midland University president wrote a letter to give Andersen readmission to the nursing school if he dropped the lawsuit and took his classes online. Andersen is continuing with the lawsuit and is seeking thousands to recover his tuition to Midland, future earnings, and punitive damages.
"So that Midland and other universities out there know that this is something that isn't going to be tolerated, you can't do this to people with disabilities," Andersen concluded.
Midland University says it is their policy not to comment on pending litigation.
The trial will begin this week at the U.S. Federal Courthouse.