Monica Porter

  • Hosted by Disability Rights Advocates
  • Sponsored by Borsecnik/Weil Family, The George Washington University School of Law
  • Service location Berkeley, California
  • Law school The George Washington University Law School
  • Issue area Disability Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

An estimated one in four California higher education students live with a mental health disability such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. Nationwide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among higher education students, claiming the lives of more than 1,000 students each year. All people with disabilities are legally entitled to reasonable accommodation and protection from discrimination, including higher education students with mental health disabilities.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Monica has:

  • Filed a class action lawsuit against Stanford University to challenge its discriminatory leave of absence policies and practices (Mental Health & Wellness Coalition et al. v. The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, Case No. 5:18-cv-02895)
  • Successfully represented a university student in securing for her university housing with a psychiatric service animal
  • Coordinated meetings with more than 25 community and campus groups to build coalitions to better serve students with mental health disabilities
  • Created, provided consultation in the development of, and presented “Know Your Rights” materials to students from more than 75 colleges and universities

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Monica plans to:

  • Continue representing higher education students with mental health disabilities, as well as other members of the disability community, as a staff attorney with Disability Rights Advocates
  • Engage as a proud, active member of the Equal Justice Works Alumni Network


Celebrating the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home.

As mental health discrimination suit moves into mediation, Ivies’ mental health leave of absence policies receive failing grades

Berkeley disability rights group alleges mental health discrimination by Stanford University

Stanford and Students with Mental Health Disabilities Reach Landmark Settlement

Meet Other Fellows Like Monica

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Margaret Wakelin

Host: Equip for Equality

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig Fellowship Foundation

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Maya Goldman

Host: Uptown People’s Law Center

Sponsor: Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation

Current Fellow

Andrew Webb

Host: Equip for Equality

Sponsor: McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Stephen Dekovich

Host: Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition

Sponsor: McDermott Will & Emery LLP