How to best secure reinstatement from a university that has expelled me, but that I have since filed a complaint with the OCR?
2 attorney answers
Normally, your chances of reinstatement to the University for such a claim are slim to none. In order for the Office of Civil Rights to make a finding that you were discriminated against because of your disability, the behavior on the part of the University would need to be particularly egregious. Moreover, if your claimed disability is an intellectual disability, the proofs that you were discriminated against because of this intellectual disability are going to muddy the waters of your claim very quickly, because an intellectual disability could form the basis of an argument that you do not possess the capability to perform at a level that meets the university's standards. While that may seem harsh, it is a possible outcome. If it is some other form of disability, then you'd have to make the argument that no reasonable accommodation to your disability was offered and that is why you were expelled. I should also ask why you are claiming "retaliation?" It seems to me that a retaliation claim would go along with an EEOC claim, not a claim against a school for expelling you. Retaliation claims are usually based on pretty egregious behavior. What were they retaliating against? Did you do something that violated the code of student conduct? If you did, then reinstatement won't happen no matter what you claim. A section 504 claim, though normally effective in K-12 education, which is guaranteed under New York's state constitution, does not extend to University education in the same ways, since the state is not required to provide every student a college education. And, if it is determined that you do not possess the skills to complete a college education, the university would be under no obligation to offer a reasonable accommodation.
I don't think this is a claim you should pursue without an expert attorney. If it has merit, you don't want to mess it up, and if it doesn't have merit, you don't want to waste your time or money on it, when you could put that into applications to other colleges.
Seek the assistance of an education attorney.
This does not constitute legal advice or the engagement of my services as an attorney.
Without knowing the facts of your situation, I would say, generally: Hiring an attorney, whether on a contingency fee basis or another fee basis, will greatly increase your chance of success. An attorney experienced in discrimination and education cases is in a much better position than you are by yourself to communicate effectively with OCR and the university to resolve the dispute, to demonstrate the merits of your claim, and to argue the factual and legal grounds that would support a lawsuit if a resolution is not reached. Discrimination and retaliation claims are notoriously difficult to prove. Furthermore, universities have wide latitude to make academic and disciplinary decisions to expel students as they deem best. Unless OCR believes you have a strong claim and achieves the resolution that you want, you will need a strong advocate to help you fight what is an extremely difficult case.