Dal approves new rules for students who face barriers

The Dalhousie senate passes an updated student accommodation policy that hopes to address student barriers case by case

Photo: Olivia Rempel

The Dalhousie senate approved a new student accommodation policy today that will take effect in September.

The purpose of the student accommodation policy is to help students who are facing barriers in their education. Such barriers may include physical disabilities, sudden sickness, mental health and religious obligations that can prevent a student from achieving success equal to their peers. The policy is built to conform with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.

The old policy, approved in 2009, contained the procedures for accommodating student requests. The new policy however, recognizes that different students may have different needs based on their own experiences and these will be different for each course.  Accommodations will now be decided on a case-by-case basis. Procedure documents are now separate from the policy.

The appeal process for students who disagree with the accommodation or the denial of accommodation has also been changed. Instead of a student having to appeal the decision to a committee of six, the student needs only to file a written appeal to the Vice-President Academic and Provost. This change is supposed to speed up the appeal process and make it less intimidating for the student.

Quenta Adams, the university’s director of advising and access, presented the final draft of the policy to the senate and responded to questions from members.

An external review of the 2009 policy was conducted in 2011 and since then many focus groups helped shape the newly approved policy. Students and faculty on all the Dalhousie campuses were consulted.

The senate approved of the policy unanimously.