Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


Senate revisions disable confusion

Western removes toxic substance

Post-secondary funding, taxes fuel debate

London population grows stagnant

OSAP repayment plan gets facelift

Birthday suits now welcome in mega city

Public suports more funding



In the city

Senate revisions disable confusion

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

A blurred line has become a little clearer for students with disabilities, thanks to a recently revised university policy accommodating disabled students.

Last week's Senate meeting witnessed the safe passage of a policy which governs how Western will handle requests for academic accommodation from students with physical and learning disabilities. The Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Admissions recommended the revised policy to clear up ambiguities which accompanied the old procedure.

Brian Timney, SCAPA's vice-chair, said there had been some confusion over the definition of the term "disability," which left some students unassisted because they could not prove their conditions. He added the revised policy will better serve all cases of both physical and learning disabilities.

The altered procedure outlines responsibilities for students, instructors, department chairs and deans as well as the Services for Students with Disabilities, an office which assesses the needs of those asking for accommodation, he said.

Timney added of the 249 students who asked for academic accommodation during the 1997-98 school year only 117, or 0.5 per cent, of the overall student body came away with any accommodation.

"The problem that [did] arise is that some felt they didn't want to give accommodation," Timney said of faculty members who were skeptical about students' claims they had learning disabilities.

Although not an enormous change, Timney said the two substantive changes made to the policy were in the area defining "academic integrity" and procedural timelines or deadlines on when students must report to the SSD.

Steve Lupker, a psychology professor, put forward an amendment to change the wording of the concept "academic integrity," as he said he felt it was not clearly defined and posed a threat to fairness in the classroom.

The amendment was defeated as several senators felt it would have opened the policy up to misinterpretation.

Greg Moran, Western's acting president, said the proposed change would have only cluttered the issue. "The revised policy will be easier to implement and will give rise to fewer conflicts and debates that will make it more effective."

"We're trying to look for a policy to ensure students with disabilities are treated fairly while protecting academic standards," he added.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999