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Author Topic: Daughter removed from Suite when College Roommates complained about PA living  (Read 4493 times)

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Offline LaurensMom

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We are, what 6 weeks into the semester. DD was put into a quad suite - 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a common area. It's sort of a priviledge to be in these suites - part of the program she is in.

With get-to-know-you emails between the new roomates at the beginning of the year, DD mentioned her allergy. The three roommates said they couldn't bear to be without their precious peanuts and contacted residence life to ask to be removed. With all three of them doing it, there was no place to actually put them so they removed DD and put her in a "medical single".

A medical single is a private room/private bath. Anyone living in a dorm having to share a bath with some 30 something girls know this is a great thing.
But, the single was 2 floors away from all the other college freshman in this program. DD is not exactly outgoing and said to me, "I just want to be normal". Move-in weekend, she was literally the ONLY person on her floor becuase the floor was of upper classmen and they weren't showing up for days.  Talk about breaking hearts!!

She does tend to like her room. She is in a sport and a tough major so by the time she gets back at night,she's ready to pass out, not party. Not the partying type anyway. She doesn't get how people enjoy losing control then spend the next day being sick over it.

But she's been home nearly every weekend - we are only about 30 minutes away. She says she really needs to live there because of how busy she is but she isn't getting the experience all because of a few thoughtless kids and a residents-life program that didn't have the common sense to listen to me when I told them this was going to happen.

Food there from an allergy perspetive is great. But the poor kid doesnt have a chance to meet kids. She'd taken AP courses in high school so she isn't even in freshman classes.

I tried to claim discrimination and "separate is not equal" but they were more concerned with pleasing the other three than making her welcome.  This wasn't discovered until 2 weeks before classes started so there was really not time for debating with the school. Besides, with her "I just want to be normal" state of mind at the time, fighting with them would make her stand out as not-normal and she wouldn't have done well with that. There was no chance of changing school as she had turned down scholarships to other schools to go to this one.

I'm headed to pick her up now. Bringing her back is almost worse because there are partying kids all around.  If I don't go get her, she will just stay in her room and watch TV, do her homework, then watch all the kids leave for parties. I get concerned she may be feeling lonely or become depressed.

It's fine, right? She'll figure it out, right? Do I stop picking her up?  Stop letting her come home? Do I just do what feels right? Everyone I talked to says their kids really didn't settle in until junior year. That's kind of where she settled in when she was in high school.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing!!

Offline hedgehog

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 :grouphug:  freshman year can be hard, no matter what. 

  My DD was not dealing with allergies when she went off to college last year.  She has always been very friendly, outgoing, socially adept.  But last year she was out in her last choice dorm--all girls, with all the drama that goes with it.  Her roommate, about six weeks into the school year informed her that she ( DD ) would be moving out.  Roommate had already gone to residence life with her good friend from across the hall, and told them that all four (DD, roommate, roommate's friend, and friends roommate) all agreed to this move.  Before letting DD know she was even considering this.  If course, it sucked that DD had to move, but life would have been miserable had she refused, because roommate would have been pissed at her, and she would be stuck with her the rest of the year.

So DD spent as little time as possible in her dorm, made lots of friends from her classes, joined a sorority and made lots of friends there.  It was a tough adjustment, but she is now happy as a sophomore. 

I hope your DD finds friends from classes or elsewhere and settles in.
USA

Offline CMdeux

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 :grouphug:


Laurensmom, this is a reason why we ultimately opted to have DD live at home.  The other more obvious reason is her age (she's very young chronologically)-- but living in a single like that was going to be just as isolating in its own way as living at home is.

At least a "commuter" whose parents live in town makes sense to other students.  KWIM?

I'm so, so sorry. 

My DD's boyfriend's parents can't really imagine people being so petty over-- well, over something so petty, really--

but it's one of the things that we are continuously impressed by with respect to their entire family.  Most people-- that is, the majority of the population-- are pretty callous about it.   :-[

DD has also had the sensation that she is not really "fitting in" because of her life as a commuter on a residential campus, and she is also quiet and fairly studious.  Luckily, her classmates are (mostly honors students, in STEM) also similarly minded.  None of them are partying types either, and so she is slowly finding things in common with them.

I do know that without her BF and his brother, each member of that threesome would be feeling just as your DD has, Laurensmom.    They sort of operate as their own little posse, socially, which gives them a certain freedom to feel very much as though other social opportunities are take-it-or-leave-it rather than personal rejection or validation. 

Does she know anyone else from home on campus?  That might be a good basis for just staying rooted in the familiar as a home base for building social interactions.  It will probably be hard for her to do that otherwise, knowing that she faced that kind of rejection from 3 suitemates who didn't even know her yet.  Ouch.   :disappointed:

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

guess

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The Rights of Individuals with Food Allergy-Related Disabilities Under the ADA is an upcoming presentation by the Department of Justice. A large part of the focus is higher education, postsecondary.

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/522190154

This presentation will explore the rights of individuals with allergy-related disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In particular, the presentation will discuss matters resolved and technical assistance published by the U.S. Department of Justice in higher education, child care, and in restaurant settings.  The presentation will include a question and answer session.

About the Presenter:

William Lynch is a Trial Attorney with the Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and has been with the Department for six years. Among other things, he is responsible for investigation, litigation, and technical assistance of matters arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. He has asserted the United States' interests and resolved matters in the following subject matter areas: accessible technology; primary, secondary, and higher education; emergency management; corrections; architectural accessibility; service animal access; and effective communication in courts. Prior to joining the Department, he served as judicial law clerk advising and consulting with judges on the resolution of disputes arising in various types of litigation.


In the case that it has not been done go to Student Services and self-identify as a student with a documented disability. The onus is on the individual in postsecondary to self-identify and document. The standard of "reasonable" kicks in. I don't know, but would guess, that providing a medical suite based on the actions of other students would qualify as a reasonable administration solution given that particular situation. The school was informed, they took action.

The webinar is free, that particular DOJ attorney knows food allergies and postsecondary fairly well as far as DOJ goes. But as stated above *if* the student has *not" self-identified and documented the disability with Student Services the school will be in a lesser position to take proper administrative action.

As for social activities there's so many parts of campus life that are not dorm centered. Having lived briefly at a dorm that was supposedly designated a quiet floor for engineering students it was party central. Find clubs, especially on campus protected by Title II assuming this is an institution that takes public funds, remember even if it's a private institutions as long as their are a recipient of federal financial assistance they are on the fed's dime and are beholden to Title II, Title III where ever it is public accommodation such as food areas.

It is worrisome thinking of her being isolated but roommate drama can get really bad, quad life can get crazy. You might want to check out a campus co-op. I ran, not walked, from a dorm and enjoyed my campus co-op experience immensely. I think on campus they called us half a sorority.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 03:36:06 PM by guess »

Offline LaurensMom

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Thank you all for the replies. Looks like there is no immediate answer as your experiences have either been the same or something we cannot do (like have her stay home). Ugh.

Still wishing for that peanut-free island sometimes.

Offline starlight

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I moved into a dorm with a roommate when I went away to school midway through the year. After that, I got a single room for the rest of school. Even though my roommate was relatively good about no nuts (we didn't have a kitchen or anything, so that was a plus, but she did eat PB on her own bed twice), you still have to think - they're not going to not eat nuts when they aren't in the room. They come home after they've eaten, and suddenly you're now wet wiping sink handles, doorknobs, the phone, your toothpaste tube if they move it out of the way...it's just too stressful.

Being in a single doesn't have to be isolating, as long as she's willing to leave it and make an effort to get to know people. My best college friend was in a single room across the hall, who I introduced myself to on the way back from the bathroom. :)

guess

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There are administrative processes yet to explore, both now and as they come up on the future in postsecondary education and further into employment. However, they do hinge on self-identification, documentation and advocacy under the ADA. Your daughter need not stay at home and she may be able to yet live in the program's associated living arrangements. Any postsecondary facility that is a recipient signs an assurance to comply with non-discrimination and is subject to Section 504. Any public entity is subject to Title II. A public university would be both.

If your daughter is otherwise qualified to be in a program that is open to others then she must have access equal to non-disabled peers as long as there are no fundamental alterations or undue burden. In this case the procedural options open to your daughter (not you) are once she has identified and is documented as an individual with a disability to the school she requests for a modification in writing that she be matched with roommates who will agree to not eat overt peanut products in their shared quad.

The process is no different than for any other student with a disability. As this is a newer disability to schools, particularly postsecondary institutions, they may not be aware of their responsibilities under ADA. It will take sustained advocacy by exhausting administrative procedures starting with documenting disability with the school to invoke ADA protections.

Offline LaurensMom

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So she was self-identifying. She is in the same building as her peers but not on the same floor, which is huge because 'cliques' of upper-classmen only exist there. For her to go onto another floor where she isn't even in the same classes as the kids is a bit of a stretch for anyone, nevermind someone who is already a bit shy anyway. This was the ONE thing she was scared about with college - about making friends because the social aspect had always been difficult. During the first few weeks, she'd call home saying, "Mom I actually talked to someone!"  But, I digress.

 The school was trying to say that becuase they would have to replace the other three roommates that that was "undue burden" because they couldn't re-do all room assignments nor just pull kids from other rooms to place them in Lauren's quad. Where is this documented? Where can I find things specifically related to post-secondary education?  Man, I wish I knew you guys were here before. I feel like the battle may even be more difficult now that we're into the semester.


If your daughter is otherwise qualified to be in a program that is open to others then she must have access equal to non-disabled peers as long as there are no fundamental alterations or undue burden. In this case the procedural options open to your daughter (not you) are once she has identified and is documented as an individual with a disability to the school she requests for a modification in writing that she be matched with roommates who will agree to not eat overt peanut products in their shared quad.

The process is no different than for any other student with a disability. As this is a newer disability to schools, particularly postsecondary institutions, they may not be aware of their responsibilities under ADA. It will take sustained advocacy by exhausting administrative procedures starting with documenting disability with the school to invoke ADA protections.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 08:02:23 PM by LaurensMom »

Offline LaurensMom

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One more thing. One of the problems was that they went to all the other females and asked if they would room with Lauren. While some said they wouldn't mind living with PA, they had already made room arrangments (bought matching quilts, partially paid for refrigerator, etc).  The school was trying to say they couldn't force someone to live with Lauren. My response was, they didn't have to. They had the choice to live with her but live under school guidelines of a PA free room. If they chose to not live on campus because of these restrictions, that was their choice.

I guess I wouldn't mind so much if the school did extra stuff to bond the kids but nothing...nothing like what was promised in the beginning.

Offline Macabre

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Would they be willing to make a double room on the desired floor a single room for the purpose of accommodation if one opens up later this year (because both kids move, go home or whatever)?

I know in college, my real friends were not hte ones who lived around me.  We had a great time around each other at night (and that is important), but my sophomore-senior years I hung around with students in my major.  I met others through clubs--Circle K (actually met my husband there!). 

I'm really glad you posted about the AP classes.  I have a high school junior, and I hadn't really thought about that aspect of things. 

Me: Sesame, shellfish, chamomile, sage
DS: Peanuts

Offline CMdeux

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It really depends upon the program, though-- the one that DD is in, if she'd lived in the honors dorm, many of her dorm-mates would ALSO have been coming in with a ton of AP and DE credits, so that wouldn't have been such an issue.  That particular dorm, though-- very difficult to get a room in it.  The entire dorm is suites.  Two doubles and a shared bath-- or, if you're in a medical single, just the shared bath and a single.

I have to say, L'smom, that the social stuff that doesn't really materialize isn't anything like news to me.  Most unis talk a good line there, but when the rubber meets the road after parents drop off, the school isn't really facilitating much beyond classroom space and cafeterias. 

Is there a lounge area at the student union?  Within the dorm itself?

Could she hang out there to read/study?  That might be a way to meet some others who aren't partying types.
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline CMdeux

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Another thing (donning my prof hat here for a moment)-- encourage her to reach out to classmates in order to STUDY together, work on a lab report or project, etc.  Offer spaces that will be FA-friendly, like a library or study room at the library/student union.  This way she can meet people (in her actual classes) who are much more likely to have things in common with her, and be friendlier in the long run.  Also will help that her FA's wont' have to be in on the opening number.  That's the real killjoy with dorm mates, so far as I can tell.  They get prohibition without even knowing what they're missing out on by not giving it a chance. :P

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

guess

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I am not a lawyer and do not give out legal advice. Law compels me to disclose that. Having said that I think it's fine to casually chat about the law, which is not giving advice.

The internet being what it is I'm going to return to explicitly cover the self-identification to university. From here on I'm going to assume that the student has disclosed to Student Disability Services, 504 Coordinator on campus, Disability Office, whatever the office is called on that campus, your daughter has been recognized officially by the university as a student with a disability. Not just for housing, but in whatever manner a barrier to access will require an accommodation. This could mean private, separate proctoring, preservation of academic record if she experiences allergy-related medical issues that interfere with testing or completion of work (like group project who refuse to accommodate). Such that the office will communicate with professors or other instructors that the student has a documented disability as they would for other students with documented disabilities that need accommodations in class, such as a service dog or designated note taker*, etc.

*real life examples from my husband's class last year. The office provided written communication for him to expect a student who needed those accommodations in the classroom.

Quote
Do I have to inform a postsecondary school that I have a disability?

No. But if you want the school to provide an academic adjustment, you must identify yourself as having a disability. Likewise, you should let the school know about your disability if you want to ensure that you are assigned to accessible facilities. In any event, your disclosure of a disability is always voluntary.

If I want an academic adjustment, what must I do?

You must inform the school that you have a disability and need an academic adjustment. Unlike your school district, your postsecondary school is not required to identify you as having a disability or to assess your needs.

Your postsecondary school may require you to follow reasonable procedures to request an academic adjustment. You are responsible for knowing and following those procedures. In their publications providing general information, postsecondary schools usually include information on the procedures and contacts for requesting an academic adjustment. Such publications include recruitment materials, catalogs, and student handbooks, and are often available on school websites. Many schools also have staff whose purpose is to assist students with disabilities. If you are unable to locate the procedures, ask a school official, such as an admissions officer or counselor.

Do I have to prove that I have a disability to obtain an academic adjustment?

Generally, yes. Your school will probably require you to provide documentation showing that you have a current disability and need an academic adjustment.

What documentation should I provide?

Schools may set reasonable standards for documentation. Some schools require more documentation than others. They may require you to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician. The required documentation may include one or more of the following: a diagnosis of your current disability, as well as supporting information, such as the date of the diagnosis, how that diagnosis was reached, and the credentials of the diagnosing professional; information on how your disability affects a major life activity; and information on how the disability affects your academic performance. The documentation should provide enough information for you and your school to decide what is an appropriate academic adjustment.

An individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, if you have one, may help identify services that have been effective for you. This is generally not sufficient documentation, however, because of the differences between postsecondary education and high school education. What you need to meet the new demands of postsecondary education may be different from what worked for you in high school. Also, in some cases, the nature of a disability may change.

If the documentation that you have does not meet the postsecondary school’s requirements, a school official should tell you in a timely manner what additional documentation you need to provide. You may need a new evaluation in order to provide the required documentation.




There's good/bad news regarding postsecondary: there's no FAPE. The standards become reasonable as they are in employment but the jurisdiction for enforcement can come under the Department of Justice Disability Rights Section Civil Rights Division as well as the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

Under the current circumstances you describe I suspect an investigation by DOJ or OCR would show that the university did make reasonable modifications because they did a few things correctly. The university did take action, promptly, and the way in which they described they could not take a specific course of action, i.e., enforcing other students to refrain from eating the allergen as a condition of housing, I suspect DOJ would agree especially with the medical housing as a solution. The devil is in the details.

I don't think that means that is the only workable solution the university could employ that would not be an undue burden, especially if they are using a non-standard interpretation of undue burden. It does not mean inconvenient it means costly, nearly impossible to accomplish or imposes something of significance that is demonstrable. But what the university considers an undue burden could merely mean their Student Disability Services is understaffed (not your problem), that they think it's too much work (not really your problem), or just inconvenient (not your problem).

The real crux of the matter most likely is the medical suite comparable to the quad afforded to students without disability and is it financially comparable, meaning they are not charging you more due to the housing accommodation for the disability? If it's inferior, substandard, does not have any option other than a one-size-fits-all-disabilities, and limits her ability to access the program equal to non-disable peers then the school has not addressed the inequity, or worse they've charged you more for it that inequity is still unaddressed and not excusable by undue burden.

For the time being the medical suite does give her control over her environment and may give her an upper hand to identify who she could befriend, more freedom to choose who to associate with. I see a few no cost strategies in the mean time.


Later your daughter may need to look at EEOC resources as she takes on internships or employment opportunities. For now the scope is establishing a collegiate course.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 10:55:08 PM by guess »

Offline LaurensMom

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LOL...more good news.
The psychologist on campus is extremely PA aware. She is leaving the school to work her own practice. She was our safety net. Ugh...haven't told DD yet.

Guess: I get your points. I am going to do some fine research. I can't say thanks enough for all the time you took to help me out like. Thank you for helping me find direction!  I really do not want to go to battle with them legally. I found throughout public school was to, basically, just show them the light, and they did the right thing. I'm really hoping this is the case. With the pyschologist leaving, I feel like I have to be really on top of all of this.

They 'overbooked' rooms this year. LOL...my opinion was that if the other girls wanted to leave that they should leave. Lauren should get the quad to herself then! LOL. But no, no spare rooms at all. Not even any doubles in this dorm because it is specifically for the honors program (used to be upper-classmen housing).

She's a computer science major - only one of two females in the program (as a freshman).
She refuses to study wtih others because 1) she says no one else studies 2) she says she gets distracted and needs to get done what she has to get done so she can get to practice and work-outs.

Thank you all for the suggestions. If anyone comes up with anything else, I'd be so appreciative if you keep positing.

About the AP courses, yes, LOL...nothing we expected as well. Never occurred to me.

It's funny. I did speak with the psychologist today and she said Lauren's experience was very common...that she had 6 kids in her office last week and 3 parent phone calls yesterday alone all about the same thing. Honestly, I get there is a transition but I don't think that THEY get that along with all the normal transition stuff, they have this on top of it.

Seriously censoring myself here but some people just really tick me off...not the psychologist - but the parents/kids who try to define my daughter without knowing her.




Offline CMdeux

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LOL--- I'm just chuckling that your DD and mine seem to have a lot in common, L'smom.  Including program and major, and a lack of extra time to spend screwing around while getting not much done. LOL.

DD isn't all that fond of working with non-honors classmates, either. She tends to shun them because they are too flakey.

She does like working on Chemistry down at the honors dorm's study spaces, however.  So it could just be that some classes will be better than others this way.

I suspect that her boyfriend isn't too keen on her working with her CS classmates, though...  being as how they are all male.  LOL.   She is also in the female minority in all but one of her classes, and in her CS courses, wowsers, is she ever in the minority.  Class of 150, and she's one of fewer than 10 women in it.  Oh-- and she's only 15, too.  So there's that.  Along with the FA's, I mean. 

 :-/


I guess I would continue to offer her the support (emotional) that she seems to need, and wait-and-see.   If that means letting her come home on the weekends, well, for now I'd probably do it.   

Feel free to PM me and we can chat about more specific than I'm comfy with being posted out in the open, btw.   :heart:



Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.