A group of students have expressed outrage at the Charles V. Park Library for what they say it is an unwillingness to have a visible accommodation statement on the library’s new website.
Katelyn Blair, a Mio senior and president of the Student Work Association, said she addressed her supervisor with concern over the accommodation statement on the library’s website last year.
The accommodation statement, which currently reads “Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact Reference Services,” includes a telephone number but no email address. Blair raised concerns that students with hearing disabilities often cannot be helped by phone and would be much better served by email. At the time, according to Blair, Timothy Peters, director of Informational Services, told Blair that “an accommodation for hearing impaired students is not needed.”
When Blair raised similar concerns this year, Blair received the following email message from one of her supervisors.
“Did I share with you the fact that Tim doesn’t even want an accommodation statement anywhere but perhaps in the footer of the new library website?”
Blair said the library’s unwillingness to add an accommodation statement to their new website is a foolish misstep.
“I think that becoming more culturally competent is never a bad thing,” Blair said. “And the fact that the library doesn’t want to accommodate certain members of our student body concerns me.”
Blair said putting an accommodation statement would not be a difficult process.
“I spoke with one of my supervisors,” Blair said. “It would be a very very simple fix.”
Senior Kayla Nye, president of CMU’s American Sign Language Society, said she was also upset at the library’s response to Blair’s request.
“We have hearing-impaired students students, we have deaf students,” Nye said. “If they need to contact someone, how are they going to be able to contact anyone?”
Nye said the library’s response was equally as distressing when she, along with Student Social Work Association, raised their own questions.
“We were told by the people in charge of developing the website that we do not have hearing impaired or deaf students on campus, and therefore such an accommodation statement is not needed,” Nye said. “I know for a fact that this is not true.”
If the library’s stance does not change in the immediate future, Nye said she and other Registered Student Organizations plan to take action.
“If the library does not do something about this, then I will contact my professors and we will do something about this,” she said.
The Student Government Association, who plans to meet with the Dean of Libraries Thomas Moore in the near future, said they found the library’s unwillingness to add an accommodation statement surprising.
“It’s frankly unacceptable,” said SGA Vice President Killian Richeson. “It’s moving Central Michigan in the complete opposite direction of where we want our university to go.”
When contacted, Peters declined comment but said he is meeting with library administrators about the raised concerns.
Library officials do not have any clear time frame as to when the library’s new website will go online.