In a local David & Goliath story, Glenn Oleksak, of Kenosha, began his higher education at Gateway Technical College in the Fall of 2017. He is Autistic, and permanently disabled, according to court records, including a letter from his Physician. He asked the school to provide him with special accommodations each semester. Oleksak passed all classes in the first two years. That is, until Gateway gave him a failing grade in English Composition 1 in the Spring of 2019. This was suspicious, as his instructor gave him an “A” grade for his midterm and even commented “Keep up the good work”. Looking online, to the website ‘Blackboard’, Oleksak saw a final grade of 81%, which is a “B-“. When he received his report card, English Composition 1 was blank, indicating a fail.
Gateway then suspended Oleksak effective May 6, 2019 until the Spring semester of 2020. Oleksak says that he never had the chance to dispute any allegations leading to the suspension. Gateway alleged “academic dishonesty” without specific details. He says the school first sent notice to his Gateway email address, which he had no access to, since he was suspended. They also mailed a notice via US Mail to an incorrect address. Oleksak’s family, feeling he wasn’t treated fairly, hired a local attorney and the attorney quickly sent a letter to the school, asking for a new hearing. Neither Oleksak nor his attorney were notified of the new hearing date, and thus didn’t attend. Oleksak filed a lawsuit in Kenosha Circuit Court asking the College to:
-Make a declaration that it has violated Oleksak’s rights
-Reinstate Oleksak Immediately
-Suspension be expunged from his record and the “B-” reinstated
-Reasonable attorney Fees
Instead, Gateway College hired a very expensive law firm out of Milwaukee to defend its actions. Gateway has filed two motions for dismissal in court, and Kenosha Judge Kerkman denied both motions. Yesterday, Oleksak filed a motion for summary judgement. This could end the case if the judge agrees with Oleksak. To date, Gateway has spent about $75,000 to defend this case. We reached out to Gateway President Bryan Albrecht and he didn’t respond to our request for comment. Looking through about 100 pages of court documents, the school hasn’t provided any evidence of “academic dishonesty”. If this case goes to trial, the taxpayers could be on the hook for another $175,000 or more. Total fees could reach a quarter of a million dollars. Why is Albrecht fighting this tooth and nail?