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Guelph-Humber student aims to improve accessibility

Students are working to improve accessibility on campus.

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Eli Ridder | Report

A student with a visual impairment at the University of Guelph-Humber is being promoted for finding solutions on campus and inspiring other students in an article posted on the university website.

The student, Christopher Schiafone, shared the story on his social media on Friday, but it was not immediately clear when the Guelph-Humber article was initially posted.

Despite his impairment creating obstacles in his academic life, the third-year psychology student has “found many creative solutions that have allowed him to thrive at [Guelph-Humber] and beyond,” reads the article posted on the university website.

“He has now been invited to share those insights at the Canadian Psychological Association’s 80th annual CPA National Convention, the largest convention of its kind in Canada, taking place May 31 to June 2 in Halifax.”

Schiafone and his brother, Media Studies alumnus Brandon Schiafone, will together lead a discussion forum with educators based around their abstract, titled “Understanding the Needs of Disabled Students” — though none of the solutions are mentioned in the article.

“Our goal with this discussion is to educate faculty from across the country on ways that they can make course materials and learning more accessible to students with disabilities,” Schiafone said.

“Not everybody has had the experience of having a totally blind student in their class. They do not necessarily know the ways in which they have to adapt things. So I’ve made it my goal and my job to educate people on how best to provide an education in an adaptive way.”

The psychology student is not the only individual who has experienced accessibility struggles on campus. Monica Khosla, when initially running for president of IGNITE in 2018, campaigned on a platform largely focused on improving accessibility supports on campus.

Earlier this year, Khosla ran accessibility focus groups that were not well-attended in person — only 14 went to three across different campuses — but there was a significant response via online surveys with 558 respondents.

She ran for re-election aiming to improve campus accessibility, explaining that she had managed to add a button in a Humber College North Campus building but not much more, yet. The president explained there was more to come in improvements as she heads into an unprecedented second term.

The Guelph-Humber student and Khosla are not alone in their struggle to improve accessibility for those with impairments or disabilities on campus as last year there was a group of students that aimed to have an “accessibility day” at Guelph-Humber.

Sources, speaking on background, told The Avro Post that they attempted over the course of last year to hold the event which would bring in speakers and promote awareness for improving what they saw were poor conditions for those hindered.

The group’s plans were halted by Student Life at the university because the department would not give them the event space because they were not a sanctioned group on campus.


Image of the University of Guelph-Humber from The Avro Post. ■

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Bell Let’s Talk Day coming to Humber

Bell let’s talk day will be coming to Humber on Jan. 29.

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File photo of Humber College

Bell will be bringing their yearly Let’s Talk event to Humber College this week.

Let’s Talk Day is a national day of raising awareness about mental health and furthering the conversation of acceptance, support and to decrease stigma.

The day also encourages the use of various platforms including social media to engage individuals. Bell also donates money to mental health funds based on messages sent throughout the day on their cellular network and social media posts.

Bell will be hosting two events at both Humber North and Lakeshore Campuses on Jan. 29.

The first event will be held at North in the LRC, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at 12 p.m. The second event will be held at Lakeshore in A170 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is open to both Humber and Guelph-Humber student

Students who wish to contribute to the cause can make a tweet, a social media video, use Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat filter and also use the hashtag #BellLet’sTalk on social media. ■

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Exclusive: Guelph-Humber will not be moving as strategic plan is developed

There are no plans to move the university as a new strategic plan is developed.

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File photo of the University of Guelph-Humber on Sept. 24, 2019 by Eli Ridder/TAP.

The University of Guelph told The Avro Post on Friday that there are no plans to physically relocate the University of Guelph-Humber “at this time” amid an ongoing process to develop a new strategic plan expected to be completed by the spring.

After a report revealed that last year that Guelph-Humber’s sole building at Humber College’s North Campus was over capacity and there were unverified rumours that the university would be moved, questions arose over its future.

Guelph-Humber was established in 2002 through a partnership between the University of Guelph and Humber College.

Officials pointed to a new webpage dedicated to bringing together all resources to do with the partnership between Guelph and Humber including an operational review undertaken during the fall of 2017.

There has not been a new strategic plan since the governing framework of Guelph-Humber was written in 1999 to establish the university and so a year-long process was launched last May to make a new plan, according to a press release from the presidents of Guelph and Humber.

Guelph-Humber graduates receive a bachelor’s degree from Guelph and a college diploma from Humber. Guelph-Humber students have access to many of the supports provided by Humber and are also members of the IGNITE student union. ■

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A new era for IGNITE

The next generation of directors will have new challenges.

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File photo of the IGNITE symbol.

With the passing of several bylaw amendments on Wednesday at a Special Meeting of the Members, IGNITE on Thursday strides into a new era with five months of decision-making behind it.

Elections will start in a matter of weeks and, for the first time in its history, the student union will not be electing executives. There will only be candidates for the Board, which sits at the top of IGNITE. 

There will be open seats at Humber College’s North, Lakeshore and Orangeville Campuses as well as at the University of Guelph-Humber. This next generation of directors will preside over a very different student union then the one the current term was handed last April.

In some ways, there will be more certainty.

They will enter a student union that has been reset with a new, more corporate direction moving forward through a new base rule: By-law No. 1 — which resets the rules for IGNITE with the bylaw amendments that students passed at the Special Meeting of the Members, combined with the skeleton of the previous Constitution.

That is not to say there will not be challenges. Chief among them will be the ongoing legal struggle over the Student Choice Initiative. Currently, the province is looking to appeal the decision made by the Ontario Divisional Court to strike down the initiative.

Several student unions, including the University of Toronto Students’ Union, have cancelled opt-out portals, ending its optional student fees and returning to the previous status quo of 100 per cent mandatory fees.

IGNITE reiterated its position on Wednesday that it would not end optional student fees while the SCI was in essential legal limbo.

If the Ford administration is successful in repealing the court ruling, student union officials said they would not want a scenario where they would have to flip-flop between mandatory and optional fees.

Directors will also have to manage hiring and overseeing the new student engagement coordinators, who will replace the current executive model.

They will be hired staffers within the student union and sit below the executive director and alongside part-time staff, according to graphics released by IGNITE. ■

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