MEDFORD, Ore. — A student with dyslexia has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Southern Oregon University, asserting he failed two classes because the school denied him reasonable test-taking accommodations.

The Mail Tribune reports 22-year-old Mikhail Savona seeks damages not to exceed $1 million. The complaint was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Savona’s attorney, Chris Cauble, said his client performed well in classes that accommodated his learning disabilities. The failing grades came from professors who refused accommodations such as extra time or questions being read aloud.

“I think they’re leaving it up to the individual professor,” Cauble told the newspaper. “And some professors are more receptive to it than others.”

University lawyers have yet to file a response. School spokesman Joe Mosley wouldn’t comment on the case, but said the general policy is to offer accommodations to students with learning disabilities.

Savona, according to his lawyer, has dyslexia and dyscalculia, which hinders his ability to read and write quickly and challenges his mathematical equation comprehension skills. The university was aware of the disabilities, and admitted Savona under special circumstances that waived SAT or ACT scores, Cauble said.

The attorney said his client has strong attendance and completes assignments, but struggles mightily with tests.

“He’s an intelligent guy, he understands and can talk about it,” Cauble said. The issue, he added, is “just writing it down.”

Savona failed Business Administration 110 and Environmental Science 101, the latter course a graduation requirement. Savona and his parents appealed the science grade through administration procedures, but the effort didn’t lead to a grade change.

Savona and his parents didn’t feel heard, Cauble said.

“He won’t get his degree if this is not fixed,” Cauble said. “He’s not trying to get anything for free or trying to use the court to manipulate the grading process.”


Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/