Iowa Supreme Court Hears Palmer Case

November  05, 2013

     When it visits southeastern Iowa Tuesday night, the state supreme court will hear arguments in two cases, including one from the Quad Cities. A former student at Palmer College accuses the college of disriminating against him because of his disability.

     Blind since birth, Aaron Cannon enrolled at Palmer in 2004, and asked for a "sighted assistant" to help him. But the college denied the reqest, based on its rules that students have sufficient vision to learn to become a chiropractor. The Davenport Civil Rights Commission agreed with Cannon, according to executive director, Judy Morrell. 

     "They did not make an individualized inquiry of Mr. Cannon. They did not allow him to show what he could do with an assisted reader. And the law requires you to do that. You have to make in individualized inquiry - in other words you can't have blanket rules that just foreclose people from things unless you let that individual show how they can perform that task."

     But a district judge agreed with the college - that a "sighted reader" would give him an unfair advantage.

     A statement from Palmer says several legally blind students have graduated from the college, and it does provide what it scalls "reasonable academic accomodations" to students with disabilities.

     The Iowa Supreme Court will meet at 7 pm, at the Edward Stone Middle School auditorium in Burlington.