About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

32 J.L. & Educ. 1 (2003)
The Americans with Disabilities Act in Higher Education: The Plight of Disabled Faculty

handle is hein.journals/jle32 and id is 11 raw text is: The Americans with Disabilities Act in
Higher Education: The Plight of Disabled
Few university and college faculty members are disabled. Yet those
few may face significant difficulties in preserving their jobs. A professor
who has suffered a stroke may have difficulty enunciating clearly during
his lectures; the university may prefer to replace him before students
complain. A professor who develops hearing problems may not hear his
students' questions clearly. An instructor with asthma may find it diffi-
cult to breathe the air in the classroom where she has been assigned to
The problem is particularly acute for those faculty who are non-
tenured and whose contracts are awarded on a yearly basis. In general,
an educational institution is under no obligation to renew the contract of
a non-tenured family member.' Yet, although tenured faculty have more
job security than non-tenured faculty, they too must be concerned about
their situation should they acquire an impairment. Even tenured faculty
may be deprived of their jobs if the university perceives that they are no
longer able to fulfill their duties as faculty members.2
Federal legislation, however, has developed an exception to the com-
mon law at-will employment doctrine in the case of disability discrimi-
nation. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and its more famous
*Suzanne L. Abram, Ph.D. Indiana University, J.D. Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, is a
Senior Quality Editor for LexisNexis.
1. See, e.g., Bd. of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972).
2. The university may dismiss the tenured professor for lack of professional competence.
See, e.g., Holmes v. Tex. A&M Univ., 145 E3d 681 (5th Cir. 1998) (holding that the university
could terminate, for professional incompetence, a tenured professor who suffered from aphasia
as a result of a stroke and who experienced slowed reading skills and difficulty with his speech
under stress).
3. 29 U.S.C. §§ 791-794e (2000).

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most