The faculty senate discussed on Oct. 25 a policy proposal that would require professors to accommodate disabled students with accessible course materials eight weeks before the start of each semester.
“It is not fair to a student with impairments to get their textbooks three weeks into the semester,” said Shane Frehlich, who spoke on behalf of the Committee for Educational Equity.
“That puts them at an unfair disadvantage,” Frehlich said.
Some faculty members said it’s problematic to address the problem when publishers or the bookstore aren’t held accountable for providing such materials.
“We are taking on too much responsibility,” director of Developmental Mathematics Michael Neubauer said.
Neubauer said faculty members have experienced substantial resistance from publishers to provide accessible materials for the visually impaired and other disabled students.
“It’s the publishers’ responsibility to comply with ADA policies,” Neubauer said.
One concern voiced by faculty members about the policy proposal was that certain course materials are dynamic and might not be available eight weeks before the start of each semester.
Another concern voiced at the meeting was that certain course materials might not be available so early because sometimes professors aren’t usually hired eight weeks before the start of each semester.
Mary Ann Prager, director of the center of disabilities, said, “What I’m most concerned about is if you give something out that needs construction or is visually based or complicated.”
“If you can do it in advance, it is better,” Prager said.
Another item on the docket was a policy proposal to change grade point average requirements for probationary students.
Shannon Morgan, chair of the Educational Policies Committee, said the policy proposal would allow for their grades to be considered by semester, not as whole.
Their grades would be considered by semester in order to determine if they’d be disqualified from attending CSUN.
“The most compelling reason (for the policy) is that the closer a student gets to graduating, the higher the loads of classes,” Morgan said.
Probationary students would have to earn a 2.0 GPA during one semester in order to be allowed to continue as students the next semester, the proposed policy indicates.
Such students must currently demonstrate a .05 increase in their cumulative GPA in order to stay.
Morgan also supported amended the three strikes policy, which dictates that probationary students can no longer attend CSUN if they’re disqualified three times.
“The fourth chance would allow them to earn their way back in,” Morgan said.
But former students would have to wait five years before to prove that they’d be dedicated to academic success.
They’d have to demonstrate their dedication through life experiences, newly acquired skills, or other tools necessary for their academic success.
One faculty member said she wondered why it would be necessary to provide people with another chance to prove themselves as students.
Morgan said amending the policy would be fair to older people who might have not have been very studious during their youth, but wanted another opportunity to try.
Amending the policy would also be fair to older people who might not have been very studious during their youth and need to attain skills necessary to perform their jobs.
“There have been too many heartbreaking stories,” Director of Undergraduate Studies Maureen Rubin said.
“We are not a prison,” Rubin asked faculty members to remember.
CSUN President Jolene Koester presented a number of items on the docket herself.
Koester spoke briefly about faculty members who attend student extra-curricular activities to show that they care.
The campus president also said the University Corporation would begin construction next fall on housing structures, which would be offered to faculty or staff members with a combined household income of $70,000 to $110,000.
New parking stalls would be constructed in Lot G3 on Zelzah Avenue as well, Koester said.
Parking lots north Lassen Street would be available for students to make use of during the construction process.
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