PALO ALTO, Calif. - Stanford University is under scrutiny after denying a prospective student with a disability access to writing assistance.
Antonio Milane has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that impacts muscle coordination. He needs scribing services to help with schoolwork, but Milane said Stanford is unwilling to provide him access to a scribe.
He spoke to KTVU via Zoom from his home in Southern California.
"It’s honestly depressing because Stanford is an amazing school. And you didn’t think they’d be so negligent to provide a kid who can’t write a scribe," said Milane.
Milane took the issue to social media. He posted videos that have been widely shared.
A Change.Org petition gathered more than 30 thousand signatures by Saturday night.
Milane’s story got the attention of many other students and staff members, including Stanford law professor Michel Dauber.
Dauber said, "I absolutely think Stanford should change course here. I think it’s extremely short sighted and I don’t think it’s consistent with the many statements Stanford has made publicly about its commitment to equity and accessibility."
Milane said he wants to go to college to become a lawyer. He said he’s fighting for all students with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to learn.
"There are thousands of kids out there who are going through the same challenges as me and never got the opportunity to get their voice heard. So I hope this changes not only at Stanford but at every school."
Stanford provided KTVU with a statement. It reads: "The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) provides academic and housing accommodations for students with disabilities through an interactive, individualized assessment process. OAE advisers work closely with students to understand their unique disability experiences, determine appropriate accommodations, and refer them to campus partners – such as the Office of Financial Aid or the Opportunity Fund – or external resources as needed. While OAE does not comment on individual student accommodations, appropriate accommodations for a student may include the provision of scribe services for classes, labs, and exams, as well as library assistance – if assistance is needed to make copies or pull materials. While scribing or typing assistance for homework outside the classroom is considered a personal service under the law and under Stanford’s policies, which Disability Services does not fund, we connect students to resources to help them identify those funding sources."