(Washington, D.C.) Today, Logan College of Chiropractic/University Programs agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination complaint that the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and Co-counsel B. Lane Hasler recently filed against it on behalf of Logan student Brandi Kostal.
The complaint alleged that Logan College violated Title IX—the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education—when the school told Kostal that its policy did not excuse absences related to pregnancy or childbirth and that she had to return to school immediately following her emergency Caesarean surgery or be penalized for any courses missed during her recovery.
Eleven days after her emergency Caesarean delivery, Kostal returned to classes—before she had fully recovered—in an effort to avoid being penalized for missing classes. In order to drive to school safely, Kostal had to stop taking her pain medications. At school she had to sit or stand for long periods of time without proper rest or medication and became extremely rundown both physically and mentally. One professor who taught two of Kostal’s masters-level classes penalized her for missing exams while she recovered from childbirth. Kostal received failing grades in those two courses, lost tuition money and fell behind in achieving her masters and doctorate degrees scheduled for Spring 2014. Before her hospitalization, Kostal had an “A” average in one of those classes and a “B” average in the other.
In the settlement, Logan has agreed to adopt a policy that addresses the rights of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX under which all pregnancy-related absences will be excused for as long as medically necessary and Logan will work with each student on an individualized plan for making up missed work. Logan also agreed to conduct annual, mandatory trainings so that faculty members understand their Title IX obligations and include the policy on its website and in the student handbook. Logan also will remove the failing grades from Kostal’s transcript, allow her to complete the two Masters Courses at no cost and reimburse her tuition payments for the period during which she was pregnant and recovering from childbirth.
“We applaud Logan College for adopting a new policy that honors its responsibility under Title IX to help pregnant students and parents get the education they need to position themselves in our competitive economy,” said Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC Vice-President of Education and Employment. “I hope this positive example will inspire other colleges across the country to do the same. Student parents routinely juggle academic workloads, the rigorous demands of caring for children and the financial pressures of student loans and child care. When these students aren’t protected, far too many drop out of school, which hurts them and their families.”
“I am grateful that my fellow students who are pregnant or currently parents will be fully protected under Logan’s new policy,” said Logan student Brandi Kostal. “I know firsthand how committed pregnant students are to do well for themselves and their children. I feel confident that current and future pregnant students will be able to continue their studies as planned and build a strong future for their families.”