"If I give up, most things won't change here."

micah-court1

An update from Micah Fialka-Feldman‘s campaign to live on the campus of Oakland University. Pictured above, Micah with friends at Eastern District Federal Court.

On February 5, 2009, District Federal Court Judge Duggan denied Micah Fialka-Feldman’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. The Judge ruled in favor of Oakland University. This is only a set back but not the end. As Micah says: “If I give up, most things won’t change here.”

Micah plans to continue to fight within the legal system and also plans to talk to the university administration. He will continue to work with other students to pressure the university to end its discrimination. It makes no sense that there are empty dormitory rooms, and the university will not allow Micah to live in the dormitory.

The Judge is saying that the University does not have the responsibility to modify its housing policy based upon Micah’s cognitive disability. We continue to disagree. The university is contradicting its own history. They have a history of allowing students participating in the English as a Second Language Certificate Program to live in the dormitory. The University canceled this initiative within the last 60 days. In short, they are changing their past policies so they do not appear as thought they are discriminating.

This is a case about discrimination and about a housing policy that was created at Oakland University before students with cognitive impairments began attending classes and paying full tuition. A change in policy will not increase University costs and in fact will help increase income for the university.

The decision by the Judge is essentially a decision that declares Micah as “not a whole student but a partial student” which is the same argument used in the constitution when it said blacks were 3/5 of a person.

The University has hired Butzel Long Law firm and is spending tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to discriminate against Micah and people with intellectual disabilities. Is this how Oakland University should spend your tax money?

In conclusion, we are clear that inclusive education and inclusive living provides the opportunity for each individual to reach his or her potential. No university or institution should have the right to deny Micah or anyone else their full dignity and humanity.

Read coverage in the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.

Please join us at the next Board of Trustees meeting on April 1, 2009 and send you comments and letters to:

Detroit Free Press: Contact ZLATI MEYER at 313-223-4439 or
meyer@freepress.com or letters@detfreepress.com

Detroit News: Marisa Schultz at (313) 222-2310 or mschultz@detnews.com.

Additional campaign updates will be posted here.

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