Sunday, September 26, 2010
The University of Winnipeg will not proceed with proposed cuts to services for disabled students.
John Corlett, the vice-president of academics at the university, said Sunday that all services for disabled students will be maintained during the fall
‘We should have been ready this fall for the kind of increase that we saw. We were not.’—John Corlett
In a leaked memo obtained by CBC News on Friday, school officials said the university had experienced an increase of more than 20 per cent in the number
of disabled students and couldn’t afford to provide some services.
The proposed cuts included assistance with note-taking and providing additional time for writing exams.
News of the cuts sparked outrage among some disabled students at the school.
Corlett, however, said the memo was leaked before senior staff signed off on the cuts or vetted the memo’s contents.
He warned that the university is suffering from a cash crunch and will have to find the money for disabled services somewhere.
The school was caught off guard this year by the hike in disabled-student enrolment, Corlett said.
“I think we’ve frankly just been surprised. We should have been ready this fall for the kind of increase that we saw. We were not. And the last thing that
we want to do is to scare our students into thinking that this promise is not going to be kept,” he said.
Officials will be searching for ways to cut the cost of providing the services, Corlett said. That may require asking people to help out for free, he added.
“More volunteers, make it a community kind of effort. It’s the kind of university we want to be but it certainly requires us to be as creative and as innovative
as we can, and [as] lean and effective as we can, with the resources that we’ve got.”