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Brenau, expelled student settle retaliation lawsuit
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A former Brenau University student who claimed she was expelled in retaliation for her complaints about her disability accommodations has settled a lawsuit against the school, according to court documents.

Jessi’ca Coley filed a lawsuit in January in U.S. District Court against the university and other members of the school.

Coley informed the school of her accommodation needs when accepted into the school’s nursing program in August 2020.

The disability was described in a U.S. Department of Education letter as affecting “comprehension and processing, anxiety and having a cancer-based tumor.”

Her attorney, Kamau Mason, said her disability involved how her eyes saw things.

She filed multiple grievances, but she was later accused of cheating and subsequently expelled, according to the lawsuit.

In their review of Coley’s case, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights said it was “not making a determination of whether the student cheated,” but that the university’s actions were reasonable and consistent with the academic dishonesty policy.

According to a dismissal document filed May 18 in federal court, the parties “reached an amicable resolution of all claims.”

Mason said he could not discuss the details of the settlement.

“The plaintiff's attorney filed for dismissal of the case,” said David Barnett, Brenau’s Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, in a statement. “The reasons leading to the plaintiff's decision are not listed in the dismissal filing, and any discussion by Brenau about why would be based on conjecture. Brenau is satisfied with the plaintiff's decision.”