Rider Settles Dining Complaint Over Celiac Disease

February 22, 2019

Rider University must offer more dining options for students with celiac disease as part of a settlement agreement with federal investigators after the U.S. attorney's office in Newark alleged that the New Jersey institution violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to make reasonable modifications for students with food allergies.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito on Thursday said the complaint originated with a Rider student who has celiac disease, which is triggered by consumption of gluten. It can cause permanent damage to the surface of the small intestines and inhibit the sufferer's ability to absorb certain nutrients.

Carpenito said Rider didn’t provide reasonable modifications to its dining program for students with celiac disease -- and didn’t adequately train its staff on appropriate policies for accommodating food allergies.

The settlement requires Rider University to accommodate students with food allergy-related disabilities and to provide allergen-free food preparation areas in its dining facilities. It must also employ a full-time dietitian and create a “preorder” option for students with food allergies, Carpenito said in a statement. Rider must also allow qualifying students the option to opt out of mandatory meal plans altogether.

Rider enrolls about 8,100 students on campuses in Princeton and Lawrence, N.J., The Trentonian reported. The university did not respond to a request for comment.

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