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Queen's University

University refuses to admit a student with Aspergers syndrome 


This case is against a university who excluded a student from nursing school on the grounds that he had Asperger's Syndrome. The university determined that a person with AS,  a neurobiological pervasive developmental disorder characterized by deficiencies in social and communication skills, would be unable to undertake a placement in a hospital and would therefore be unfit to practice as a nurse. A nurse with Asperger's syndrome, they maintained, would present an unacceptable health and safety risk to patients.

The exclusion of the student, and the reasoning of the university, flew in the face of existing medical documentation that supported the student's ability to undertake the nursing course. Unlike the student, who had a positive assessment from a clinical psychologist stating that he was able to undertake the nursing program, the university had no medical evidence backing up their claims.

The DRC became involved  2003. They reviewed his case and deemed it to have very good prospects of success in court.


According to the DRC, "[this] Part 4 case against a university usefully raises issues about the extent to which exclusion can be justified on health and safety grounds, in a case where the evidence available supports, and always has supported, the student. As such, the case reactivates the DRC’s interest in professional training but in the context of Part 4 coverage, which has hitherto been unavailable."


The latest information on the DRC website indicates that "proceedings are to be issued pending the university's internal investigation".



Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000