(CN) – A deaf medical student whose hearing resembles “a poorly tuned, crackling radio station” says Creighton University refused to provide state-of-the-art simultaneous translation through hearing assistance technology for his lectures, labs and study sessions, and he wants a judge to order the college to do so.
Michael S. Argenyi is a first-year medical student at the Omaha-based university. He has been deaf since infancy but recently had surgery that allows him to hear slightly. In his complaint in Omaha Federal Court, he says he repeatedly requested accommodations before and after being admitted to med school. He says he was turned down and offered outdated and insufficient hearing assistance.
Argenyi says he asked school officials for Communication Access Realtime Translation for lectures, and a sound-amplification system and cued-speech or oral interpreters for labs and small groups. The school refused, saying that a student’s use of a third-party interpreter violates the school’s technical standards, according to the complaint.
Argenyi claims Creighton said he could sit in the front row during all his lectures and offered to provide a note-taker and an FM device that amplifies speech through a microphone or transmitter.
The school told Argenyi that “all medical students have access to the audio podcast of the lecture” available on the Internet, the lawsuit states.
Argenyi calls the school’s accommodations “ineffective,” claiming that only the assistance he requests will allow him “the same access to lecture information as other students.”
Argenyi says the school’s refusal to meet his requests violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. He seeks declaratory judgment and unspecified damages. He is represented by Dianne DeLair of the Center for Disability Rights, Law and Advocacy.