- Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A deaf student at Creighton University is appealing a federal judge’s 2013 ruling that said the school did not have to reimburse him for more than $100,000 he spent on special equipment and interpreters in his first two years of medical school.

Michael Argenyi’s cross-appeal was filed Wednesday after lawyers for the Omaha school filed their own appeal earlier this month. Creighton’s appeal challenges the judge’s ruling that it must provide Argenyi with the special equipment and interpreters to allow him to finish his last two years of medical school.

Argenyi was accepted to Creighton’s medical school in 2008 after disclosing that he was hearing-impaired and requesting accommodations for his disability to allow him to follow lectures and communicate with patients.

But Creighton’s medical school refused to provide Argenyi with a system that transcribes spoken words into text on a computer screen and a cued-speech interpreter that Argenyi had used as an undergraduate student, earning a 3.87 GPA.

Instead, Creighton used a microphone system that emitted frequencies to be picked up by Argenyi’s cochlear implants. Argenyi said the system was inadequate, and one doctor determined it actually reduced Argenyi’s ability to understand his professors.

Argenyi took out more than $110,000 in loans to pay for the assistance, but said he was forced to take a leave of absence in his third year when the university refused to allow him to have an interpreter to interact with clinical patients - even if he paid for it himself.

He sued in 2009. A federal jury in December found that the private Jesuit school had discriminated against him, but said it was not required to reimburse Argenyi for the equipment and interpreters.

“Michael Argenyi continues to make payments on the loans he took out in order to access his classes at Creighton University,” Argenyi’s attorney, Mary Vargas, said Thursday. “The appeal seeks to place that responsibility where the jury found it belonged.”

Argenyi has re-enrolled at Creighton and is slated to resume his studies July 2.

An attorney for Creighton, Scott P. Moore, previously has said the school will provide Argenyi with the equipment and interpreters he needs while its appeal is being considered. Moore did not immediately return a message Thursday seeking comment on Argenyi’s cross-appeal.

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