HigherEdMorning.comIs requiring a 2.0 GPA 'arbitrary'?

Is requiring a 2.0 GPA ‘arbitrary’?

October 5, 2009 by Taylor Hannigan
Posted in: From the Courts, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views

After a student finished his first year of law school with a 1.82 GPA, he was dismissed from the program. Then he sued.

Andrew Oser finished his first semester at Capital University Law School with a GPA of 1.4. He was put on probation, and based on a review of his study habits the director of a probation program referred him to a psychologist.

The psychologist sent Oser to a physician who diagnosed ADHD and suggested he be given 30 extra minutes for each three-hour exam he took. The school agreed to give him 15 minutes of extra time per exam, as long as he gave it 30 days advance notice.

For the spring semester, Oser missed the deadline to ask for accommodations. The school provided them anyway for two of five exams, but he did better on the exams he took with no accommodations.

Oser finished the spring semester with a 2.0 GPA – not good enough to raise his overall cumulative average to the required minimum. He sued, saying the school didn’t accommodate his disability. He said the school imposed an arbitrary minimum GPA of 2.0.

The court refused to grant him a preliminary injunction because he didn’t show he was likely to win the case. It appeared the cause of Oser’s dismissal was a simple lack of effort, the court said.

Cite: Oser v. Capital University Law School.

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  • http://higheredmorning.com thom

    What a jerk. Good thing they tossed his dumb butt out, and made way for students actually interested in doing the work.

  • Toni

    While a school should be acknowledging a student’s disability, a student also has to take responsibility. It appears that he was not concerned enough to get the paperwork started in time for the semester to begin. He should have realized that he alone is responsible for taking care of his needs by insuring the proper paperwork is completed and submitted on time. I agree that perhaps he is not a good candidate for law school.

  • Earl

    Isn’t ANY standard by which you dismiss a student arbitrary? Somebody, somewhere, wrote a rule and that’s the rule and it’s arbitrary almost by definition. But if it’s applied consistently and is reasonable and justifiable, not capricious, then the student doesn’t have much chance.

    I’d just love to see him explain some day to a judge why it shouldn’t matter that he filed his court papers late, they should be considered anyway in order to accommodate his disability. Would that work?

  • Steve

    one of the problems with ADHD is you have organizational problems and have trouble being organized enough to give the advanced notice. It is to bad they just threw him under the bus. There really is no reason to have him have to give notice for every test.

  • Andrea

    It *is* reasonable that he give notice that he will need the accommodation — the instructor has to make arrangements for him to have undisturbed extra time. That may mean finding a different room for the test (one that does not have another class coming in right afterwards, for instance), or a separate room and a proctor for the individual needing accommodation. Universities are not full of empty rooms during class time; it can take some weeks to get it arranged. He certainly was not “thrown under the bus.” He was given ample notice. While I do understand that ADHD means one has executive functioning problems, it is the student’s responsibility to (as a student and as an *adult*) learn to compensate for that problem. BTW, I have a child with a serious illness and a visual disability. That means he gets accommodations (seated up front, writing on board has to be large enough and high contrast, etc.), but it doesn’t mean he gets to avoid doing the work. He has to learn how to compensate. And he’s responsible for copying his homework assgt, making sure he can actually read it, etc. I think if a 9-year-old can manage that kind of responsibility, an adult can manage to get his accommodation requests in on time. Particularly an adult who’s managed well enough to get himself into law school.

  • Bill

    While I applaud Mr. Oser’s attempts to better himself, the last thing any defendant needs is an attorney who is disorganized and misses deadlines. When your freedom or perhaps your very life is on the line, you need someone who is on top of things. I am sure there are many career opportunities which would better fit Mr. Oser’s situation. And I’m not just taking a shot at someone with disabilities. I have lived with multiple disabilities since the Vietnam war and have found a very comfortable position in computer programming and website design and maintenance. Mr. Oser needs to take a realistic look at his abilities, then choose something that fits him. He’ll be better for it in the long run if he’s not fighting daily battles just to keep up.

  • Carol

    Anyone who hasn’t read the case in full should so as to understand what actually occurred. The student fully admitted to the school and court that he did not prepare properly.

    To Steve: you say the student was thrown under the bus. However, as the case states, the student actually did better without the accommodations for the tests so in fact if he had used them for every test without having had to ask, his GPA would probably have been even lower. There was also involvement by one of the school’s counselor’s who also has ADHD (diagnosed in the 6th grade) and was successful in fulfilling all the requirements to become a lawyer. So tell me…just where does the wheel of the bus hit in this case?


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