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Southeastern Community College v. Davis

  • By: Caroline Jackson, Howard Rosenblum, Marc Charmatz, Debra Patkin & Stephanie Johnston
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Davis was the first Supreme Court case to interpret Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In Davis, Frances B. Davis, a Deaf individual, applied to a nursing program at Southeastern Community College. The college denied her application because she was deaf. After her request for reconsideration was denied, Davis filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Warren L. Pate and Philip A. Diehl of Moses, Diehl & Pate represented Davis at the trial. After a bench trial, the judge ruled that Section 504 did not require the college to admit Davis to its nursing program (Davis v. Southeastern Community Coll., 424 F. Supp. 1341 [E.D.N.C. 1976]). It reasoned that, because she was deaf, she could not “safely ...

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