SGA proposes resolution supporting Deaf student Kelly Laatsch, forms sustainability committee
The Student Government Association proposed a resolution Monday to call for Central Michigan University to review the College of Education's decision to deny Deaf student Kelly Laatsch the ability to earn a Michigan teaching degree.
Laastch, a senior from Freeland who has been Deaf since birth, is in her final year of the education program and is completing her student teaching requirement in a class of hard of hearing students in Saginaw.
Because of Laatsch's full time need of interpreters in the classroom, Karen Edwards, the director of student teaching, has notified Laatsch that she does not fulfill the state's English requirement as stated in the Michigan Department of Education's Teaching Technical Standards, which states students must be proficient in both understanding and speaking English with or without accommodation; a requirement Laatsch could not fulfill because of her need for interpreters.
Laatsch was given two options by the department, either not pass student teaching and get a bachelors of science (non-teaching) or sign a waiver stating she will never seek teaching certification in the state of Michigan. Her situation was first reported by Central Michigan Life Feb. 23.
Marie Reimers, a Saginaw sophomore representing Spectrum, and one of the writers of the resolution, said she felt it was crucial for SGA to bring attention to the issue.
"We need to bring this situation to the student body's attention, because I don't think enough people have heard about this yet," Reimers said. "I'm personally outraged about the situation, and I feel that when more people hear about this, more people will share that outrage. We need to express that."
The resolution states the SGA opposes the decision handed down from the department, and strongly advocates the university reevaluate and reverse their decision.
SGA Senator and Lansing senior Antonio Grettenberger, who sponsored the resolution, said the decision from the student teaching and disability departments clearly violated CMU's stated goal to move toward student equality.
"She's a student and she deserves to have the same rights that students with no disabilities have," Grettenberger said.
The SGA will be voting on the resolution during the next house meeting, March 12.
The SGA also passed legislation to form a new sustainability committee on Monday night.
According to the newly-appointed president of the committee, Saline junior and Student Environmental Alliance President Chloe Gleichman, the committee will be focusing on a variety of issues, including the addition of energy-saving lightbulbs in campus buildings and will push for the ban of bottled water.
Although the committee was previously scheduled to start at the beginning of the next administration in the fall, because of increased student interest, the committee will be formed immediately.
Gleichman said she is excited for the future impact of the sustainability committee.
"Sustainability is on a lot of people's minds," Gleichman said. "The more we are able to encourage a sustainability mindset in students, the more sustainable we will be as a campus"