Suit: Blackhawk Technical College violated disability act

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Kevin Murphy
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
— A former Blackhawk Technical College student who suffers from military-related post-traumatic stress disorder claims in a federal lawsuit that the college failed to accommodate his disability in violation of the Americans with Disability Act.

Mark Sellers, Janesville, had PTSD that substantially limited his ability to learn when he enrolled at BTC in October 2008, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

In January 2010, Sellers asked for and received additional time to complete a written exam. In February 2010, however, his request for auxiliary services and learning aids, not specified in the complaint, was refused, according to the suit.

The lawsuit claims Doug Anderson, a BTC employee, harassed Sellers in connection with his request for the learning aids, even though Anderson had no legitimate need to access Sellers’ school records. The suit alleges BTC’s faulty policies and practices allowed Anderson’s unlawful access to Sellers’ records.

Sellers’ attorney, Nicholas Fairweather of Madison, declined to specify what “auxiliary services and learning aids” Sellers’ requested but said they “weren’t outrageous and based on my client’s disability were reasonable and were the things any institution of higher learning could afford to provide to a student.”

Fairweather said Sellers was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in the military, but he declined to give more details. Sellers has since withdrawn from BTC because of how he was treated, Fairweather said.

BTC spokesman Len Walker said college officials hadn’t seen the suit and had no comment on it Tuesday. Walker also couldn’t provide any information about Anderson’s employment with BTC.

BTC’s website staff directory on Tuesday had no listing for Anderson.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, attorney fees and costs.

Last updated: 5:51 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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