When Mark Chan registered with Disabilities Services, he hoped his health issues would be addressed in the classroom.
Instead, the University of Minnesota psychology senior failed a class because he said instructors didn’t “readily accept” or accommodate his nonvisible disability.
When Chan asked Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson and President Eric Kaler what he should do, Hanson said he should’ve come directly to her.
Disability concerns were one of many issues addressed by Kaler and Hanson at an open listening session attended by about 30 students Tuesday
The event touched on a range of issues, from racial and cultural diversity to renovations of the second floor of Coffman Union.
“I think diversity is a very broad and elastic word,” Kaler said.
The number of undergraduate students of color has increased by 1 percent over the past six years on the Twin Cities campus, according to University data. This fall, about 5,500 undergraduates are students of color.
Students in attendance voiced concerns about renovations to the second floor of Coffman, which is home to many student group offices and cultural centers.
One student was curious if the renovations would reflect “ideological changes” for the University.
Hanson said she’s concerned with
preserving current spaces, but there may not be enough for all groups.
Other buildings in close proximity to Coffman, like the Science Teaching and Student Services building, are being considered for alternative spaces for affected student groups, she said.
Another student concern at the session was a lack of diversity in science and engineering programs at the University.
Kaler said the University doesn’t have the critical mass needed to promote diversity in these programs, something he said requires a “systematic approach.”
In addition, there is a shortage of African-American males in the University’s undergraduate program, he said.
“We’re not where we need to be, particularly in some sub-groups,” Kaler said.
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
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