A Comparison of Rights and Responsibilities
As discussed earlier, when you are a student in college/university, you have certain rights. Students have the right to access services and equipment as appropriate in order to have an accessible learning environment. Under the British Columbia Human Rights Act, it states that individuals with a disability have the right to have an accessible environment in which to work. This is called the Duty to Accommodate.
This video from the Canadian Human Rights Commission – CHRC, provides a definition of the duty to accommodate and the “service provider” as mentioned, would refer to the college or university.
Rights also apply to your work environment, which includes summer employment, co-op, preceptorships and practicum placements, and eventually when you complete your post-secondary education and move into the workforce. Be sure to be prepared for these situations. Know your rights and responsibilities and learn to advocate for what you need with confidence!
With the rights described below come certain responsibilities. Let’s take a look at what your responsibilities will be as a post-secondary student, and what your college/university will be responsible for when it comes to your educational needs.
It is important to recognize that planning and implementing accommodation is a shared responsibility.
One of the primary responsibilities of both students and Accessibility Services is to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the necessary accommodations.
College/ University Rights
- Right to choose a program that suits their interests.
- Right to equal treatment and access in post-secondary education, without discrimination due to disability.
- Right to accommodations and resources (and possibly modifications or alterations) based on a documented and disclosed disability, and without compromising academic standards.
- Right to protection of privacy.
- Request information from a student to support accommodation requests and plans; this may include documentation to validate the need for academic accommodations and outline the functional limitations experienced by a student. Such assessments are completed by an appropriate professional
- Select among equally effective and appropriate accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids in consultation with students with disabilities
- Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids if:
- a disability-related need is not specified,
- information provided fails to verify the need for the requested services,
- the required information is not provided in a timely manner.
- constitutes a substantial change or alteration to an essential element of a course or program;
- poses undue financial or administrative burden and hardship on the college.
Your communication access needs may vary or change, depending on the situation or environment. The Accessibility Advisor and Audiologist can make some initial recommendations for equipment, accommodations, and supports. If challenges arise, students need to anticipate challenges, ask questions, and take action, immediately.
Be sure to check out the websites of various post-secondary institutions you are considering attending. They will also have valuable information on rights and responsibilities that pertain to their institution. For example, take a look also at this information from Douglas College.