Could I sue my college for not allowing me to study abroad?

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Could I sue my college for not allowing me to study abroad?

I attend a university and my scholarship includes a study abroad program in Italy. Earlier in the year, another student reported that I was trying to kill myself, which was false, and the disciplinary advisor got involved. He said in our meeting that I would have to have a note from a therapist to travel to Italy. He later sent me an email and changed it to having a note from a psychiatrist, which I would have to go home to get. I have had an appointment with my psychiatrist at home for months and it is next month. Today, I was told that I could not travel to Italy because I don’t have the note, but no deadline was

given to me for this note. Could I sue for discrimination against mental illness?

Asked on November 4, 2016 under Business Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

This would not be discrimination against mental illness. The school has certain responsibilities to look after student well being and also has a legitimate interest in not being sued if they help a student do something that then harms him or others. Their requiest for a psychiatrist note was reasonable, not discriminatory, under the circumstances. You write that you had an appointment "for months"--that is an unreasonably long delay, given that you were applying for a an overseas trip/education that takes months to plan *and* that you would have to allow the school time to review any note you provide and request additional information or clarification if necessary. The reason that you could not make the trip was not the school's reasonable request for a note, but your unreasonable delay in meeting with a psychiatrist--under the circumstances, you should have arranged the appointment earlier. So their action was neither discriminatory nor unreasonable based on what you write, but rather, you failure to go overseas was because you delayed providing the note for an unreasonable length of time (months). Based on what you write, you are very unlikely to have a valid cause of action or claim.


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