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PRESS RELEASE: Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Kent State University to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination in University-Operated Student Housing

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 4, 2016

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Kent State University to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination in University-Operated Student Housing

The Justice Department announced today that Kent State University (KSU) has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit alleging that the university had maintained a policy of not allowing students with psychological disabilities to keep emotional support animals in university-operated student housing. Under the settlement agreement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, KSU will:

• pay $100,000 to two former students who sought and were denied a reasonable accommodation to keep an emotional support dog in their university-operated apartment;

• pay $30,000 to a fair housing organization that advocated on behalf of the students;

• pay $15,000 to the United States; and

• adopt a housing policy that will allow persons with psychological disabilities to keep animals with them in university housing when such animals provide necessary therapeutic benefits to such students and allowing the animal would not fundamentally alter the nature of the housing.

“This settlement shows the department’s continued and strong commitment to ensuring that students in university housing are afforded the protections of the Fair Housing Act,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Those protections include accommodations for students with disabilities who need assistance animals in order to have an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of university housing.”

“Kent State University is to be commended for reaching an agreement that will benefit its students,” said U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio. “This agreement will help many people who are working hard to earn their fair share of the American dream.”

The proposed settlement would resolve a lawsuit filed by the department in 2014. In that lawsuit, the department alleged that KSU violated the Fair Housing Act when, in 2010, it denied a request to allow a student with a psychological disability and her husband to keep an emotional support dog in their university-operated student apartment. The students, along with the Fair Housing Advocates Association in Akron, Ohio, filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD investigated the complaint, determined that KSU had violated the Fair Housing Act and referred the matter to the department. Under the proposed settlement, KSU has agreed to change its policy to accommodate similar requests going forward.

“Providers of on-campus housing have the same obligation to comply with the Fair Housing Act as other housing providers,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s settlement reinforces the ongoing commitment of HUD and the Justice Department to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are granted the accommodations they need to perform daily life functions.”

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.govEmail or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or through HUD’s website at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp.

About FREDERICA CADE

Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com

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