OU to appeal judgment in Fialka-Feldman case

Days after Micah Fialka-Feldman won his right to live on campus in a lawsuit filed over a year ago, Oakland University spokesperson Ted Montgomery says OU will appeal the decision.

Fialka-Feldman’s victory in the decision handed down by Judge Patrick Duggan Dec. 28 has become a viral news story across the nation; from U.S. News & World Report to NPR to CNN’s list of intriguing people for Dec. 30.

Despite OU’s announcement of appeal, Fialka-Feldman told The Post he still plans to move in to his campus residence on Monday.

Click here for prior coverage and watch for more in-depth coverage from The Oakland Post.

Below is the statement provided by OU spokesperson Ted Montgomery.

“The University will appeal the Opinion and Order authored by Judge Patrick Duggan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Fialka-Feldman v. Oakland University Board of Trustees, et al, but will not seek a stay of the permanent injunction that permits Mr. Feldman to live in the University’s on-campus housing during the upcoming semester.

Although the Judge held that the university did not discriminate against Mr. Feldman because he was not denied on-campus housing solely because of his disability, he held that the University violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act – a statute that provides protection only to individuals who are discriminated against solely on the basis of their disability.

The University questions the Judge’s opinion that the University’s housing program is separate from its regular academic program, and also his decision to waive for Mr. Feldman the University’s requirement that only degree-seeking students be allowed to live in on-campus housing. The Judge’s order appears to provide Mr. Feldman with preference beyond that required by the law and fundamentally alters the University’s on-campus housing program by adding a mandatory on-campus housing component for non degree-seeking disabled students, a component which is optional under the Higher Education Act for programs similar to OPTIONS.

This case has never been about Mr. Feldman as an individual and the Judge’s order does not satisfy the legitimate interests of the University’s matriculated, degree-seeking students and their parents or its legitimate interests in designing academic programs, which includes on-campus housing.”