Deaf students’ concerns made clear

June 9, 2014

Stephanie Lai & Dan Todd

Several deaf students met with Fanshawe College senior staff on June 8 in a long-awaited meeting to discuss their concerns and frustrations of not having college support during their studies.

The meeting comes after two open letters were sent to College President Peter Devlin earlier this year.

Devlin was not present at the meeting.

“Our president is concerned about meeting the needs of our students and that’s why we had the meeting yesterday, to learn about the concerns of our students,” said Cathie Auger, vice president of Student Services.

Auger says Devlin asked the Senior Vice President of Academic, senior staff and herself who are responsible for academic delivery and accommodations and services to meet with the students.

The students, however, were disappointed at the absence of the college president.

“[We are] very disappointed because he is the president of this school,” they said through an interpreter. “He speaks for these students … Him not showing up is like snubbing them as [he] previously did.”

Jason Rose, a Fanshawe alumnus and the person spearheading the cause, says Devlin should have attended the meeting.

“We believe that he should be there to hear our concerns and he’s on the top who can change for better too.”

The meeting was set out of necessity nonetheless.

“We were aware that students had some concerns and we were not aware of what those concerns were,” Auger said. “We needed to meet with our students to understand what their concerns were/are so we can identify how we can improve our services for those students.”

Auger says issues and recommendations were made in the meeting, which the college will now look into.

  • Orientation meeting for deaf students
  • Awareness and training for faculty who teach deaf students
  • New model for assigning sign language interpreters
  • Higher levels of qualifications of sign language interpreters

In the meeting, the students were adamant of having some changes in place for September.

“We are going to assess the recommendations they made and come up with a plan to move forward on those recommendations that we can move forward with,” Auger said. “We’re certainly going to be trying to put into place some of their suggestions by September.”

There were plans for a second meeting made at the conclusion.

“I’m hoping that we will be on the path to better consultation and better communication,” Auger said. “We learned a lot. It was a good exchange of information and views.”

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