Changes to policy concerning accommodation for students with disabilities

The policy, which governs the academic accommodation for students with disabilities, hasn’t been changed since 2009

Policy BRD 10-0, Academic Accommodation and Services for Students with Disabilities has been recently changed to Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. In addition to this, several other changes to the policy were approved at the Dec. 8, 2017 TRU Board of Governors meeting.

Multiple titles and names have been updated in the policy, with Disability Services being changed to Accessibility Services.

This updated version of the policy also clarifies the definition of documentation in regards to the appropriate amount of academic accommodation given to student with a disability, says Dean of Students Christine Adam.

“Something that we clarified in the policy was in the definition section and it was around documentation,” Adam said. “So this is just based on our evolving understanding of what documentation we should be asking for in order to assess what would be appropriate academic accommodations for a person with a disability.”

The original policy was created in 2009. Though it was supposed to be reviewed in 2014, the process was delayed until 2017.

“There are just a lot of policies that require review and updating, so it was just in the works and we got to a point where it could be revised and brought to the board,” Adam said. “So at any given time there are all sort of policies that are under review. So some reviews move more quickly than others.”

According to Adam, the reasons for such delays can be multifold.

“Mostly because you are watching case law in other jurisdiction or you’re waiting on colleagues at other institutions to make similar decisions and you want to get it right,” she said. “We have had leadership changes in disability services, now accessibility services, over the past few years. We have had 3 different managers since 2015, so it’s been a little challenging.”

Despite the delays, Adam notes that policy BRD 10-0 is important from a human rights perspective and that the changes needed to happen eventually.

“This policy basically ensures that students rights under the human rights code of British Columbia are met by the university,” she said. “So it lays out the procedure to make sure those rights are met.”