ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A University of New Mexico student is suing Lobo Village for discrimination.
UNM student Erin Thomas, 23, says she just wanted to experience real college life, staying in student housing, but she says Lobo Village refused to accommodate her disability, causing her to move out just three months into her stay.
"I was just not being treated as a person who has a legitimate disability just because I don't really look sick," Thomas says.
She says she was diagnosed at 11-years-old with Scleroderma, a disease that affects her circulation and digestion. She also has arthritis and a condition that limits her breathing.
It all made it very difficult to get to her third floor apartment without an elevator.
"I wasn't able to hold my stamina throughout the day, having to go up and down three flights of stairs more than once a day," Thomas says.
She says she made several requests to move to an apartment on the first floor and nothing happened although she knew someone else who was moved to the first floor after Thomas made her request.
So, Thomas filed a lawsuit against Lobo Village.
A spokeswoman sent the following statement:
Lobo Village has policies and procedures in place to ensure that all students have equal opportunity to use and enjoy its housing facilities. Lobo Village therefore takes Erin Thomas's allegations seriously and plans to defend itself against Ms. Thomas's claims. Since the litigation is currently pending, Lobo Village has no further comments on Ms. Thomas's claims at this time.
Thomas says she became dehydrated, lost a lot of weight and after only three months had to break her lease and move back in with her parents.
"I just want college students with disabilities to be able to live in a place like Lobo Village where it is kind of the college experience and be able to live like any other person," Thomas says.
It has been almost a year since she moved out, but Thomas says she still has to go to the hospital for IV hydration and hasn't been able to get back to the weight she was when she first moved in.
The lawsuit is still in the early stages. Thomas' lawyer says at this point no hearing is set and both sides are just working on resolving the issues.
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