Bad News for Colleges and Universities: A Federal Court Recognizes a Cause of Action for Negligent Admission of a Mentally Disturbed Student
by Richard Fossey - April 14, 2009
In Estate of Butler v. Maharishi University of Management, a federal court recognized a cause of action against a private university for negligent admission of a student after a student with a history of mental illness fatally stabbed a fellow student in the campus dining hall. As a matter of public policy, this was a bad decision. Colleges and universities cannot reasonably screen student applicants for evidence of their propensities for violence. If the Butler case signals a judicial trend, colleges and universities should press for legislation in all fifty states that bars lawsuits against higher education institutions for claims arising from their student admission decisions.
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