UW disability dispute

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Engineering student at UW Alexis Blair, filed an application under the human rights code arguing that UW failed to grant her a disability-related fund. 

“As a result of not receiving the [disability related fund]…, an Application under Section 34 of the Human Rights Code was submitted to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) on July 30, 2019,” recounted Alexis Blair. Blair has a temporary disability, which restricts her from walking and requires surgery as treatment.  She hoped that the SAFA Office and AccessAbility Services would be able to provide her with an OSAP approved reimbursement through the Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD)program at UW.  However, she was turned down because the bursary is only offered to students with permanent disabilities.  

“Both the Student Awards & Financial Aid (SAFA) office as well as AccessAbility Services, contravened Policy 33 [and] 58, as they discriminated against me by failing to disburse a disability-related bursary,” Alexis Blair told Imprint.

She also believes UW dismissed her case in an unprofessional manner. “[I was] treated by the University of Waterloo in a demeaning, disrespectful and belittling manner, as they failed to provide [me] with accommodations, they yelled at [me] before both of [my] midterms, and they withheld a bursary that is considered crucial to students with disabilities.”

However, when Imprint contacted AccessAbility services, they denied ever having records of a case like this, let alone specifically the case of Alexis Blair. 

AccessAbility Services is UW’s center for the management and accommodation for all UW students with disabilities. 

 “We design and facilitate [students’] academic accommodation plan by removing barriers and building [students’] capacity for personal success. We work with [students], [instructors], and others to ensure [students’] accommodation [plans are] successfully implemented,” a seemingly equity-based statement made by AccessAbility Services. Alexis Blair strongly opposes this claim. She believes bringing stories like hers to the forefront of media would help empower individuals who are marginalized by disability services.

She has started a GoFundMe, which can be visited through the link Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/en-route-towards-graduating-in-2020. 

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