A Troubled Typist

February 5, 2007

A former University of Michigan Law School student is suing his former institution because he says its exams are more difficult for those who don't type speedily.

Adrian Zachariasewycz, a 2004 graduate of Michigan, says the law school did little to accommodate his typing deficiencies, which he claims led to a grade point average that wasn't reflective of his understanding of material -- and ultimately limited his earning potential as a lawyer. 

His argument: Students who can type a high number of words per minute often score better during timed examinations because they can provide more complete answers to questions. In the suit, he complains that Michigan didn’t notify him that proficient typing was “effectively a prerequisite to compete for grades on certain exams."

Zachariasewycz filed a complaint in a Delaware court in November. He sued in Delaware after being dismissed by a law firm there. He is also suing the firm, and his charge against both the firm and the university is interference with his ability to "secure employment commensurate with his experience or education."

The complaint against Michigan states that Zachariasewycz performed well on tests that did not involve heavy typing. He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and wants a typing expert to work with Michigan to determine how severely his grades were hurt by slow typing.

The suit says Zachariasewycz hasn't attempted to track down how other students with self-described poor typing skills fared on tests at Michigan. 

Michigan makes concessions for students with documented disabilities. The university issued a statement saying that ”beyond the typing policy at issue in the lawsuit, every effort is made to ensure fairness and equitability in the grading and evaluation process."

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