Monday, December 11, 2017

Open Space: Camosun College moving Disability Resource Centre harmful to students

September 21, 2016 by Adam Marsh, student editor

Moving the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) into the Lansdowne library was a move ignorant to the needs of Camosun students.

Many students are self-conscious of their learning disabilities; putting what is quite often their lifeline—for extra help during high-stress times such as exams or just for day-to-day needs like picking up notes—in the academic centre of the college is asking for trouble.

It’s unlikely that you’ll walk through the busiest intersection of downtown Victoria and see signs that advertise counselling for learning challenges or mental disorders, but they are there. The whole idea with these kinds of resources is that they are not accidentally stumbled upon; it’s a privacy issue for the sake of those who use them. With the DRC in the library, it’s far too easy for a student who uses it but who doesn’t want to be associated with the stigma of it to be seen. Now, stigma is a whole different issue, and is arguably the culprit here, but, regardless, it’s of the utmost importance to respect the students using the DRC.

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Not everyone thinks Camosun’s new location for the Disability Resource Centre is a good one (photo by Adam Marsh/Nexus).

Sure, the people who decide where to put the DRC aren’t too affected, but for a student with learning challenges, the discreet nature of the centre is often the deciding factor in whether or not that student will seek the aid available to them.

Some feel strongly that having the DRC in a more public place will decrease stigma around learning challenges. And, sure, if a person really needs help, there are many variables that impact whether or not they will receive it. But let’s be realistic: having a more visible placement of the centre will not urge a student who wasn’t using it before to use it now. It’s more likely, now that it’s in the middle of Grand Central Station, to cause a student who desperately needs the services but who wants to keep their personal demons personal to decide against using it. Which is unfortunate, because it could be a cornerstone to their academic success.

Camosun, don’t make it any harder than it already is to get through life with a learning challenge. The DRC location wasn’t broken; don’t try to fix it. It’s not like the staff were in the DRC’s previous location in the Dawson building twirling around in office chairs all day with nothing to do because students in need weren’t coming through.

Having the DRC in the library only complicates navigating college life further for students with disabilities. And that’s a mistake, because that road wasn’t exactly smooth to begin with.

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Comments

One Response to “Open Space: Camosun College moving Disability Resource Centre harmful to students”
  1. Lynn says:

    Adam,

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. The moment I entered the library and saw the DRC access front and center, I thought “well I guess I won’t be using this resource this year, and if I do it will be a drive out to interurban where it is a little more discreet.” Completely insensitive. I’m definitely not broadcasting my learning disabilities. Thanks for putting it in words and hopefully we will see some change sooner rather than later.

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