Millikin University faces a federal discrimination lawsuit accusing the college in Decatur, Ill., of forcing a legally blind student with epilepsy to move out of her dormitory in 2006 after she obtained a service dog.

The lawsuit, announced on Thursday, was filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of Catherine Nielsen, a student at Millikin during the 2005-6 academic year. She had been living in the university's largest dorm, which was fully accessible to people with handicaps, when she was approved for a service dog. Such dogs are specially trained to detect early signs of epileptic seizures and alert their owners, as well as protect them from injury if a seizure occurs.

According to the lawsuit, Ms. Nielsen had previously asked the university's director of residential life about the dog and had been told that getting such an animal would not be a problem.

When the dog was delivered, however, university officials asked Ms. Nielsen to move to another dormitory because the college was concerned about other students' allergies, according to legal documents in the case, and she was told she could not enter her former residence at all if the dog were with her. (The suit alleges that no students in the dormitory had allergies and that it had sophisticated air filters that could have prevented any problems.) After living at her mother's house with the dog, she moved to another dormitory, which was less accessible than the original one.

The suit alleges that Ms. Nielsen suffered "inconvenience, discomfort, stress, and increased incidents of epileptic episodes" after the move. It is unclear if she graduated from the university.

In a written statement, a Millikin spokeswoman, Amy Hodges, said the university had acted appropriately. Ms. Nielsen's original dormitory had been designed for students with respiratory problems, she said.

"The university has gone out of its way to make reasonable accommodations for the needs of both the students and their service animals in the past, and will continue to do so in the future," she said.

If Millikin loses the suit, it could be forced to pay damages, including Ms. Nielsen's medical expenses and compensation for "emotional and physical distress," and a $16,000 penalty, according to the case documents.