A Call For a Revamp

Centre for Student Accessibility tries to make the U of R more inclusive.

Centre for Student Accessibility tries to make the U of R more inclusive/uregina.com

Article: John Loeppky

The U of R needs more inclusion. 

It is the elephant in the room. This elephant might not be able to walk straight. It might have issues remembering things or writing long lecture notes at the speed required. It is visible and invisible, loud and quiet, often ignored.

The animal I am speaking about is inclusion. Often, issues for those with disabilities and others who require special attention in the classroom are glossed over. Professors sometimes neglect the requirements of the few in the interest of the many or even themselves. Furthermore, some areas of campus are difficult to navigate at the best of times, impossible at the worst, and, even when basic requirements are met, the systems in place pin the onus squarely on the student.

Having said that, there are people on campus that are here to help.  For every cause, there is a champion, and the Centre for Student Accessibility aims to fill that role here at the University of Regina. They provide a plethora of services to help those who are registered with the office, anything from arranging a note taker (which, if you are interested, provides credit for UR Guarantee programming) to supplying quiet rooms and computers for students to write exams. As is written on their website, “The Centre aims to encourage independence, self-advocacy and equality for all students, while maintaining personal, confidential service.” This mandate should leave no room for wriggle room, right?

Wrong. Through no fault of their own the office is operating with major hurdles in their way. There are, in fact, two offices that facilitate these sorts of programs on campus: the aforementioned Centre for Student Accessibility and the Arts Accessibility Office.

Two different offices means two sets of problems, but they have much in common.
From what I have seen and experienced first hand, there are two main aspects of the system that need to be revamped: the procedure for writing exams and the interactions with individual professors.

Let’s start with the process for exams. If you are writing in a quiet room you will, most likely, have an invigilator. An invigilator is like a babysitter as they watch to make sure you aren’t cheating. In my time at the university I have heard of, and often witnessed, invigilators flirting with students, arriving past when they were supposed to, and distracting students during key exams. After the test is completed it is their job to deliver the paper to the appropriate professor and many exams have been lost this way.

Secondly, and most importantly, the interactions between faculty and the Centre need to be sterner. Too many students are left to fight their own battles because professors will not follow the rules while facing very little recourse. This is not to take away from the work that is being done but rather to highlight that more can and should be done. Students should not be forced to battle for what is rightfully theirs as a student.

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