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Former Student Sues Gonzaga

Thu., April 20, 1995

A Pierce County man is suing Gonzaga University, charging the school discriminated against him because he is disabled.

Darin Dressler, 27, claims he tried to get a degree from Gonzaga, but never was given enough help to overcome his disability.

He suffers from dyslexia, a reading impairment that makes it difficult to see the proper sequence of letters, words or numbers in a sentence.

Despite that problem, Dressler graduated from high school with a 3.9 grade point average and maintained a 3.07 GPA at GU through 1993.

Even so, he was unable to satisfy the requirements of the university, the lawsuit said.

Gonzaga officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Spokane County Superior Court.

“We will defend it vigorously,” said Dale Goodwin, a GU spokesman.

Dressler is seeking monetary damages to be proven at trial.

Dressler was admitted to Gonzaga in 1986 on a scholarship. He enrolled in engineering, but the GU faculty failed to provide counseling that university officials had said they would provide, Dressler said in the suit.

Denied acceptance in the engineering school, Dressler switched to biology and chemistry, but was unable to satisfy math requirements, the suit said.

Later, he tried to get into the business school, but ran into more problems, the suit alleges.

Dressler transferred to Tacoma Community College in 1988 in an attempt to meet GU’s math and English requirements. He returned to GU in 1990, and allegedly had more problems, the suit said.

In 1993, he began work on a teaching degree with emphasis on history and political science and earned a 3.5 grade point average that fall.

Dressler was kicked out of the education program last year, said the lawsuit, which quotes education department chairwoman Janet Burcalow as criticizing Dressler for poor academic progress and unacceptable personal characteristics.

He was refused readmittance last January and escorted off the campus by security guards, the suit said.


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