Atlantic Cape Community College Discriminates Against BlindStudent, Bans Him from Freely Accessing Campus
Mays Landing, New Jersey (April 15, 2014): Members of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, and its New Jersey affiliate, will hold a protest at the Mays Landing campus of Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC) on Thursday, April 17, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Blind people from New Jersey and surrounding areas are gathering to protest discrimination by ACCC against Anthony Lanzilotti, a blind student studying criminal justice and cyber-security there.
Mr. Lanzilotti has been denied even the most basic accommodations and at times has not been allowed on campus or to use campus facilities unless he is accompanied by a sighted person. He has also been prohibited from using campus laboratories because ACCC claims that this violates the fire code. ACCC has also refused to procure or create accessible copies of Mr. Lanzilotti’s textbooks and course materials, a service routinely provided to blind students by other colleges and universities. If he wants his print textbooks to be scanned and converted to electronic files that can be read aloud by text-to-speech software or on a Braille display, he must do the scanning himself, and he cannot use campus facilities to do so unless he meets the requirement of having a sighted person with him. Mr. Lanzilotti is planning to file suit against the college.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Blind students sometimes face challenges in the college setting, including lack of access to textbooks and course materials, but the vast majority of institutions of higher education make at least some effort to accommodate these students. Atlantic Cape Community College has not only refused to make the minimum effort to accommodate Mr. Lanzilotti, but has added insult to injury by segregating him from his fellow students and restricting his access to the campus and its facilities. Mr. Lanzilotti is not a child and does not need a chaperone.
The National Federation of the Blind intends to make ACCC’s outrageous discrimination against Mr. Lanzilotti known to the public and to do everything else in our power to assist him in fighting this discrimination. The laws of the United States and the state of New Jersey are firmly on Mr. Lanzilotti’s side, and we will see that they are followed.”