Lawsuit Alleges Professor Told Disabled Student His Brain Was Broken

A disabled student is suing Miami Dade College in federal court, claiming a professor refused to give him additional time on exams and said that his brain was broken, according to a lawsuit filed in November.

Court documents claim Kendall Campus professor Chin Yu Kuo told Adrian Dominguez, who was taking his introduction to computer technology and applications class last summer, he should take exams in his classroom because he didn’t look like other students that get special accommodations. Dominguez said the professor made similar statements several times in front of classmates.

“We’re trying to make it so that he can return to [MDC] and be provided the accommodations to which he’s entitled under the law,” said Iva Ravindran, Dominguez’s lawyer. “We’re also hoping that the case raises awareness and makes the school more careful about ensuring that professors are adhering to the law.”

The suit was filed on two counts of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, both of which prohibit discrimination based on disabilities.

College officials declined to comment, saying they do not speak about ongoing legal cases.

When approached by The Reporter outside his classroom, Kuo denied the claims.

“How could we do that?,” Kuo said. “He’s confused.”

He later added about the case: “It’s very complicated.”

Students registered for disability services at the ACCESS department are eligible for auxiliary aid, substitutions and modifications while taking classes, according to the College’s Manual of Procedures. These services include additional time on exams, interpreters and assistive technology.

Dominguez was involved in a car accident in April of 2018 that caused him to develop a cognitive impairment and forced him to use a cane to walk. He registered with ACCESS last spring semester, and was deemed eligible to receive additional time on exams and record lectures, according to the suit.

“They’re not allowed to, you know, basically disregard the law in their own classroom,” Ravindran said.

Dominguez reported the situation to Carlos Cabrera, who chairs the School of Engineering and Technology at Kendall Campus, and other college officials. Ravindran would not specify which other college officials were involved.

Cabrera agreed to set up a meeting between him, Kuo and Dominguez. When he arrived for the meeting at Cabrera’s office, he was not available. He reached out to the chair again, who then recommended Dominguez switch professors, the complaint reads.

According to the lawsuit, MDC failed to reprimand Kuo when Dominguez reported the incident and mishandled the incident.

As a result, Dominguez is not enrolled at the College, despite his original plans to pursue his associate in arts degree in the fall and spring semesters, according to the complaint.

The College responded to the lawsuit on Jan. 9, stating there wasn’t enough evidence that MDC created a hostile environment for Dominguez. They said he initiated the arguments with Kuo in class and was given the opportunity to switch to another professor.

That argument was denied in federal court a week later. It is unclear why the court denied the motion.

Ravindran said MDC needs to take measures to ensure professors know students’ rights: “It shouldn’t be a matter of chance or luck when it comes to whether a student gets his accommodations.”

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