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Barnes v. Converse College, 436 F. Supp. 635 (D.S.C. 1977).

"In the 1960's, a political and legal revolution began because there was a significant minority population which had to sit at the back of the bus. Today it is realized that a significant minority cannot even get on the bus." This significant minority, which has been estimated to include 20-35 million persons, are the handicapped individuals of America who have at last come forward in great numbers to demand the equal rights and protections which have been denied them for so many years. This most recent social movement has been termed "a new era of civil rights" by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), at a recent White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals. In response to the growing outcry for an effective government mechanism to oversee enforcement of the laws and regulations passed for handicapped reform, Secretary Califano, under order from President Gerald Ford, recently signed a regulation implementing section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of handicap against otherwise qualified handicapped individuals in programs receiving federal financial assistance. The new section 504 has already presented many unanswered questions regarding the scope of its effect and the liability of those who are subject to it. In Barnes v. Converse College, a deaf teacher has sought to enforce section 504. This case may serve as a fundamental guidepost for future litigation by demonstrating how far the courts are willing to go toward enforcement in the area of post-secondary educational aids to the handicapped.

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