Dealing with a roommate who wants to have “alone time” in your dorm room is as much a part of the college experience as the dreaded freshman 15. But a former student at Stonehill College, a Catholic university in Massachusetts, is adamant that she shouldn’t have had to deal with her roommate’s constant late night lust sessions, and because she feels the school didn’t do enough to accommodate her complaints she’s filing a lawsuit alleging that the school violated the Rehabilitation Act and the federal Fair Housing Act.
In her complaint, Lindsay Blankmeyer says her roommate was having a lot of sex and participated in “sexually inappropriate video chatting” that drove her to develop suicidal thoughts because she was already suffering from depression and attention deficit disorder when she enrolled in the school. When roommate mediation didn’t work, Lindsay was reportedly given the option to move to a different room with a new roommate, which she didn’t want to do because she didn’t know the girl. Instead, she and her parents asked the school to move her roommate and let her keep the room alone, or allow her to move into a single room by herself.
Lindsay was denied both requests because the school said she wasn’t entitled to such an accommodation. According to the law, housing providers and schools are only required to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Anything that poses an undue financial or administrative burden on the provider can be deemed unreasonable, which the school argues is the case in Lindsay’s situation because a few other students would have had to be moved as well in order for her to have a single room.
That doesn’t sound like that much of an administrative headache, but Lindsay’s complaints also seem a bit extreme—without considering her personal mental health issues. With a pending $150,000 lawsuit the school probably wishes it had found a new place for Lindsay to stay, but as noted, it seems in this case the law is on their side.
I wonder what happened to college students setting rules about sex in the room or do-not-disturb codes so you knew when to knock before entering because the other person has company. Most roomies just hash it out when someone violates the rules or is hogging too much “me-time” in the dorm, but these days, everyone is lawsuit happy.
What do you think about this case? Was Stonehill wrong not to accommodate Lindsay or is she making this issue bigger than it is?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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