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Deaf College Student Denied Interpreter

Is the University of California Berkeley being inaccessible for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing?


A Deaf Canadian woman named Nancy Barker is a visiting student researcher spending a year at UC Berkeley. Barker says that the school denied her an ASL interpreter which the school’s Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) would have provided.


When Barker arrived on campus, she was supposedly told that the campus was not prepared to give her accommodations.


As time went on, DSP still refused accommodations. Barker left the campus after only a month, but later returned. After her return, receiving an interpreter remained an issue.


The situation started in August, 2016 and is ongoing. As of January 2017, DSP has supposedly given Barker an interpreter 20% of the time.


Barker has been frustrated by this experience. She said that it’s been difficult to complete her classwork and has trouble in group environments.


Barker has not taken legal action against the school in fear of being labeled a “troublemaker”.


DSP Director Karen Nielson said she could not comment on concerns due to confidentiality, but said visiting students were not considered Berkeley students, and the DSP did not apply to them.

What do you think? Should the school provide an interpreter for visiting students? Let us know.


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