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The ADA and Food Allergies on Campus

Education Alert | January 14, 2013
By: Nancy Conrad and Nancy Sabol Frantz

Colleges, universities, and institutions of higher education may want to review their food service policies in light of the recent Settlement Agreement, dated December 20, 2012, between the United States of America and Lesley University (DJ 202-36-231). 

According to Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, “The agreement ensures that Lesley [University’s] meal program is attentive to the schedules and demands of college students with food allergies, an issue colleges and universities across the country need to consider.”  The agreement was reached after the United States Department of Justice received a complaint in October 2009 alleging that Lesley University violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for failing to make necessary reasonable  modifications to permit food allergic students or students who have celiac disease to “fully and equally enjoy the privileges, advantages, and accommodations of its food service and meal plan system.”   

Considering the increasing prevalence of celiac disease, food allergies, and the implications of the ADA, colleges and universities should review their food service policies, practices and procedures and work with students on a case by case basis to address the needs of individual students.  Our education law practice group has resources and experience with the review and development of institutional policies and the implementation of practices to meet the individual needs of students.  

For further information, contact Nancy Conrad, Chair of the Education Law Practice Group. (610.782.4909 /

This correspondence should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and legal questions.
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