Professor with heart condition files complaint against school for not letting him teach virtually

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By , WCBS Newsradio 880

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A Hofstra University adjunct professor on Wednesday filed a formal complaint against the school after they did not allow him to teach his class virtually during the fall semester.

Arthur Dobrin, who has been a professor at Hofstra University in New York for three decades, says he was tossed aside by the institution after he asked to teach his media ethics class virtually in the fall because the 76-year-old has a heart condition.

“I went back to my doctor, my cardiologist,” Dobrin said. “He said, ‘You're crazy if you go in the classroom. He said ‘You can get a medical accommodation.’”

The professor says he told his department what his doctor said and there was no discussion, noting that they simply took his class away from him sometime at the end of July.

“It was thoughtless, it was to dismiss out of hand a medical accommodation, to not even to discuss alternatives to this, which clearly there were,” Dobrin said.

His attorney filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Dobrin says that while he is worried about how he will be able to pay his bills, he is more concerned about holding the institution accountable.

“Income is certainly a concern. Finances are always a concern,” the professor said. “But, the bigger picture is that discrimination against people in my position. I can't be the only one in this country that faced this. I know I wasn't the only one at Hofstra to face this.”

A spokesperson for Hofstra in a statement says they've not yet been served the complaint.

“While we have not yet been served this complaint, and would not speak specifically about an individual legal filing, during the past year the University scheduled classes either in-person, hybrid or online by considering the educational needs of our students and academic programs,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The emphasis for undergraduate classes, especially introductory classes, as well as lab and studio courses, was on in-person classes, while graduate classes were more online. And in any event, class assignments are never based on the age of a professor.”

Dobrin says he has been teaching an ethics class for 50 years and said he was be disappointed if any of his “ever treated somebody this way, after they've graduated from my class. I’d say ‘I failed.’”

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