The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of judicial deference to academic decisions in Rehabilitation Act Section 504 and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) actions involving claims that a student is “otherwise qualified” to participate in a program. I initially present in Part II of this article an overview of Section 504 and Titles II and III of the ADA with particular emphasis on their effects on higher education and on judicial interpretations of the “otherwise qualified” standard. In the next section, I review the constitutional and common law principles that courts have relied on in granting deference to academic decisions. Part IV describes the approaches employed by the lower courts in giving deference to academic authorities when program modification claims arise under the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. Finally, in Part V, I argue that deference to academic decisions is justified by the incompetence of courts to review academic standards.
James B. Leonard,
Judicial Deference to Academic Standards under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
75 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol75/iss1/3