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Graduate Studies

Dean’s Task Force on Graduate Students with Disabilities— Meeting Minutes October 9, 2013

Barbara Crow, Dean, Graduate Studies, Chair, Dean’s Task Force on Graduate Students with Disabilities
Karen Krasny, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies,
Heather Moore, Student Affairs Officer, Faculty of Graduate Studies,
Marc Wilchesky, Executive Director, Counselling & Disability Services,
Markus Reisenleitner, GPD, Humanities,
Sheila Wilmot, CUPE 3903 Equity Officer,
Adrie Naylor, GSA Student Services Coordinator,
Danielle Tucker, VC Student Access York,
Barb Wells, EA, Faculty of Graduate Stuies
Sabrina Charles, Faculty of Graduate Studies

1. Review

  • Review of last year (speaker Kate McPherson)
  • Last year we tried to identify and assess the issues affecting graduate students. We did a lot of housekeeping and processing of issues:
    • We looked at Accommodation provisions in terms of Extra time
      • Now it is easier to request extra time for full– and part–time students
      • We worked on amending the petition form
    • Still have issues around CUPE and Graduate students with a disability
      • Issue around those students not covered by CUPE
      • Part–time students do not fall under CUPE agreement
      • Many students with disabilities go part–time
    • Issue around PhD studies. No extensions past year 6
      • Idea around considering extra time before year 7
      • OSAP implications; only fund up to year 6. If students stay past year 6 they owe OSAP and there is no funding
      • Therefore we need to find a way to code to remove these barriers, perhaps an override for two consecutive year 6’s
    • Looked into some FGS scholarship awards
      • How do students get access to these awards?
    • Realized that the assumed time to completion is not standard
      • Need to further assess what specific issues extend student time to completion
      • How can extra time be accommodated?
      • Extra time priority pool is for teaching students
  • We also looked at operational issues, we note that these issues are easy to fix yet they are not being addressed, many are internal to FGS
    • For example, need to have better communication and convey needs to programs and GPDs
    • Need to also communicate to greater communities i.e. centre for human rights and CDS
    • Focus on putting things into place

2. Issues to be addressed

  • Senate: changes / updated policy, to get in contact with Roxanne Mykitiuk
    • Invitation to next meeting
  • Disclosure of disability to CDS, there is a question of rights versus responsibility
    • Students should not have to disclose, but many feel pressured to disclose
    • Students should be aware of the purposes of disclosure and the pros and cons of registering
    • No reprisal if disclosed at application time
    • CDS holds a voluntary position on disclosing
    • Even when some students disclose to CDS, they do not want to disclose to faculty members
      • Uncertain about how to keep disclosed student's identity confidential from faculty
      • At the same time, faculty members need to be aware of which students need accommodation and they can only do that if they know who those students are
      • For extended time in CUPE, it does not say students need to be registered to CDS
    • Application Process: When students are applying, we need to be clear on what services we accommodate best. This way student can make the best choice for their future.
      • How can we start this conversation up front?
      • We would have to provide real world examples of the course work and the physical layout of our campus-identifying any perceived obstacles.
      • Classroom roster of which rooms are accessible
    • Reserve accessible rooms — these rooms should remain on reserve for accessibility issues
      • Acquire a copy of the room audit to review
    • “Wordpress” system; required to meet the standards of web accessibility
      • Find out whose role this is, perhaps Susan Webb
    • GPD/GPA training
      • Need to be able to better direct students
      • Students need to be able to go to them to work through solutions to issues and concerns

3. Handbook

  • Clean up language around disclosing of disability — should be more positive language
  • Sourcing — important to know where the information is coming from
  • Need to be geared towards graduate students
  • Omit disability planning — that is internal to this committee
  • Place preamble at the front about the intent of the handbook
  • Provide information about, where to go in the event of issues/problems –resources for specific issues
    • Use of Pathways may be useful — what should you do in this situation…
    • Who are your GPD’, how to utilize FGS
    • Supervisors responsibility
  • Can get feedback on the handbook by having a student focus group
  • Add ODA and AODA policy to handbook
  • Include more services not only on York campus
    • ARCH, spaces, outside resources

4. Action Items

Action Item Assigned to
# 1 Roxanne to be invited to the next Task Force meeting Barb
# 2 Do research in what other universities are already doing around disclosure, find out what is working at other institutions Sabrina
# 3 Room Audit, what rooms are accessible and which are not, what features do the rooms have Barb
# 4 Who is required to meet the “web accessibility” standards, maybe Susan Webb’s group? Barb
# 5 Pathways and scenarios, Sabina to work with Adrie to jot down scenarios and gather information pathways Adrie & Sabrina
# 6 Focus Group with students, engage the students to help us with ideas, Barb to touch base with Danielle Tucker about this Barb
# 7 Updates to handbook Sabrina

Next meeting:

  • Tuesday Dec. 10th, 2013 1:00 to 2:30 pm, Room 232 YL