Request that Penn State revise its instructions to its law firm regarding ADA issues

Open letter to Penn State President Rodney Erickson

Dear President Erickson:

I am reliably informed that under the administration of former President Graham Spanier, it was Penn State policy not to resolve expeditiously Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaints raised by disabled students and other disabled members of the Penn State community.

Instead the University’s policy was to take a hard-line on ADA issues, not mediate their resolution, but litigate vigorously with the intention not necessarily of winning on the merits, but rather of exhausting the resources of disabled individuals by forcing them to drop their requests for relief because they could not afford lengthy legal representation.

It is my understanding that President Spanier’s policy was part of what Judge Freeh referred to in his report as the “football culture” at Penn State that he said requires extensive reexamination. I am told that President Spanier’s motivation was to reduce the presence of disabled individuals on campus so as not to dissuade parents of prospective football players from having their sons join the team.

I hereby request that you change Penn State’s policy so that legitimate ADA complaints can be resolved quickly, humanely, and at less cost to the University.

Thank you.


Joel Solkoff, advocate for disabled and elderly individuals, State College, PA