Idaho Advocates File Suit Over UI Access Issues
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 23, 2004
MOSCOW, IDAHO--Tired of empty promises from University of Idaho officials, an advocacy group is suing the school to force it to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Comprehensive Advocacy Inc. (Co-Ad), the state's Protection and Advocacy Services office, filed the federal suit because the university has failed to mark its building entrances as accessible or inaccessible for people with disabilities.
Mary Jo Butler, legal director of Co-Ad, told the Associated Press that a trained advocate informed the agency of the university's alleged violations two years ago.
"We have talked to the UI and written them letters," she said. "We got a letter from the university in 2003 that $15,000 had been allocated to post the signs at building entrances and that it was expected to be done very soon."
Butler said that recent inspections showed that none of the signs had been posted on the campus.
"We hope this won't have to go to court," Butler said. "We just want it to be settled very fast."
Butler explained that Co-Ad set a goal this year to push all state and local government agencies in Idaho to comply with ADA accessibility guidelines for public buildings.
"Most of the time we just wrote a letter and the people fixed the problems. They'd have a consultant come out and tell them what needed to be done, and that was it," she said. "That's why we were so disappointed when the University of Idaho would not do anything. They admitted there was a problem that needed to be fixed."
A UI spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the university had not received notification of the lawsuit.
Comprehensive Advocacy Inc.