Accessibility office hit by budget cuts

Provincial budget cuts have hit Dalhousie University hard and have forced the Halifax school to make difficult decisions as to which programs will lose funding.

The Accessibility Office fell victim to the slash in funding, as they lose one of their learning disabilities specialists.

By Lauren Hughes

Dalhousie Office of Student Accessibility and Accomodation. (Lauren Hughes Photo).

Dalhousie’s Office of Student Accessibility and Accommodation is losing one of their learning disabilities specialists. The loss is due to provincial budget cuts.

Dr. Tom Traves, President of Dalhousie University, reported the possible budget cuts during the Jan. 10 Dal Senate Meeting. Traves said the province was preparing for a potential five per cent cut over a three year period.

Accessibility to academic help threatens to crumble as the province presents its budget cuts. (Lauren Hughes Photo)

Services provided by the Office of Student Accessibility and Accommodation include aid for physical, learning and mental disabilities and help many students succeed in getting their diploma.

Lindsay Logie, a student note-taker for the Accessibility Office, sees the program as a place of support for those who struggle with courses and exams.

“For people who are not visual or auditory learners, (class) is really hard for them,” says Logie. “That’s where note-taking comes in: if you need to be sitting there and listening, someone else could help you.”

According to the Accommodation Policy for Students on the Dalhousie website, the university is “committed to providing a learning environment and community in which students are able to participate without discrimination.”

The policy continues to say that Dalhousie looks to provide fair access to academic programs and facilities for all students.

“Discrimination on the basis of certain abilities that really don’t have anything to do with you as a learner or as a person or intellectual (should no longer exist on campus),” says Logie.

Logie adds that she’s surprised by the lack of students taking notes for the program. The Office of Student Accessibility and Accommodation gives an honorarium to note-takers.

“Having a larger budget at their disposal might make it easier for them to get people involved and to motivate people,” says Logie. “Ideally, I would think you could come to (the office) if you were having any problem.”