Former student wins case against USIU for failed lifts
Tuesday March 14 2023
United States International University- Africa has been ordered to compensate a former student living with disability Sh100,000 for subjecting her to physical and psychological torture more than six years ago after the lifts failed and she had to be carried upstairs to write an exam.
High Court judge Patricia Nyaundi ruled that the university infringed on the rights of Ms Gathoni Kimani, over the failure to take appropriate steps to accommodate her on August 10, 2016 when the lifts at the institution malfunctioned.
Ms Kimani, an advocate of the High Court, was due to write an exam on the fateful day but the lifts to the Science Centre, the examination venue, were not working.
The former student sued USIU-A over the failure to maintain functional lifts and provide a ramp and other aids to persons living with disability, even after bringing it to the attention of the university.
“In the instant case, it has been established that the plaintiff’s rights were infringed. Having considered the nature of the violation, the applicable law, the unique circumstances of this case, I find that an award of Kshs100,000 would be reasonable in the circumstances,” the judge said.
Ms Kimani said the failure to accommodate her was discriminatory based on her disability and health status.
She told the court the exam was scheduled to take place on the school’s first floor and she arrived at the building 40 minutes early only to realise that the elevator was still grounded.
This was the case despite writing emails to the institution and making follow-ups for repairs.
Through her lawyer Cliff Oduk, Ms Kimani told the court that her lecturer later called her, inquiring where she was.
She informed the lecturer that she was on the ground floor and the course instructor sent two women to carry her to the exam room.