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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Rider University Settles Claim with Gluten-Free Student

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Students with celiac disease and/or food allergies are asserting their rights at colleges and universities across the country. Rider University is the latest to agree to changes in gluten-free dining practices after legal pressure from students.


    Caption: Image: Wikimedia Commons--David Keddie

    Celiac.com 04/10/2019 - With more universities under pressure to provide for students with food allergies and sensitivities, it’s little wonder that students who feel that schools are falling short are pressing the matter legally. That often means filing a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to prompt a settlement. 

    Most recently, Rider University agreed to make changes to its dining options to accommodate students with food allergy-related disabilities after a former student filed a complaint claiming violations of the ADA, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

    The actions were the result of a complaint by a former student with celiac disease, who claimed the University had failed to make reasonable accommodations. The changes came after the U.S. Attorney's Office found that Rider failed to create “reasonable policies, practices, and procedures for students with food allergy-related disabilities and failed to adequately train its staff on appropriate policies for accommodating individuals with food allergies," Carpenito said. 

    On the positive side, Carpenito said that, from the onset, “Rider University has worked cooperatively to develop and amend its policies and practices to comply with the ADA."

    Under the agreement Rider University will create its own policies for students with food allergy-related disabilities, rather than relying on third-party food service vendors. Rider will create dedicated allergen-free food preparation areas in its dining facilities, and employ a full-time dietician to address food allergy-related disability issues. Lastly, Rider will create a "pre-order" option for students with food allergies.

    Rider spokeswoman, Kristine Brown, says that the school has gone beyond the terms of the agreement to open a new, allergen-free food-preparation station that will serve food free of the eight major food allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat and soy. The food at the station is also gluten-free, Brown said.

    Anyone who believes they have been wrongly discriminated against may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney's Office at justice.gov/usao-nj/civil-rights-enforcement/complaint or call the U.S. Attorney's Office's Civil Rights Complaint Hotline at 855-281-3339.

    Additional information about the ADA can be found at ada.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice's toll-free information line at 800-514-0301 and 800-514-0383 (TDD).

    Read more at Patch.com


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    This is GREAT news!  I ran into something like this when my daughter with celiac disease started George Mason University...freshman living on campus had to get a food plan and they said they offered gluten free food choices BUT when I called food services to inquire about food handling, the director said she could not guarantee that all the food handlers understood or followed the proper procedures...I had to enroll with the office of disability, fill out a lot of paperwork with doctor's signatures and ended up getting her into an upper classman room with a kitchen so she could prepare her own food safely...I think ALL college campuses should HAVE to follow Ryder .....Celiac disease is NOT about "just a little tummy ache" if gluten is accidentally ingested" yet I feel as though this is how it is viewed...sigh...

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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