Cognitively Disabled Student Wins Legal Battle Against Oakland University, Will Move In

Oakland University student can finally move into on-campus housing.


A cognitively disabled student who has battled his Michigan college for campus housing for more than a year has finally gotten his wish. A federal court ruled that Oakland University in Rochester must allow Micah Fialka-Feldman, who has problems reading and writing, to live on campus even if he is not on the path toward graduation, the Oakland Post reports.

The case made national news, drawing the attention of disabled-rights advocates. The university denied Fialka-Feldman campus housing in 2007 because he wasn't in a degree-granting program, the Detroit News reports. Fialka-Feldman studies in Oakland's OPTIONS program, which allows students who normally wouldn't get into the school to take ungraded classes. The 25-year-old Michigan native still pays fees comparable to tuition.

Oakland University did not show "that enrollment in a degree-granting program is an essential requirement to live in a campus dormitory," U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan said in his opinion.

Fialka-Feldman was relieved by the ruling and told that "society is changing in the way it is thinking about the disabled."

"I feel excited and can't wait to move in," Fialka-Feldman told the Post. "It's a great opportunity for me to move in to the dorms and show that I'm a student and all the students have supported me."

As of now, it's not clear if Fialka-Feldman will actually live in a room on campus, the Post report says. He hasn't heard any details about housing, and he plans on finishing his program in the winter semester.

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