Letter to the Editor: Disability Resource Center Not Much Help

Dear Editor,

I have been a CNM student since the fall 2011 semester. I hope to graduate at the end of summer, with my Elementary Education degree. I am on the Dean’s list, with a 4.0, so I definitely work hard to do well in my studies.

Since April of 2010, I have been listed on the UNOS trans­plant list for a kidney. While I have had some impact from my inher­ited disease, it was not getting in the way of my studies. However, towards the end of 2013, I found myself getting a few phone calls with kidney offers. While these first few didn’t pan out, I knew my time was near. In anticipation, I vis­ited the disability resource office at Main in early January. I first had to be scheduled for an orientation to even determine if I would qualify. This appointment was set for the 24th, three weeks after my initial contact. I attended the orientation and it was determined that yes, I just might qualify.

Mind you, I knew I would really only need a few weeks of leeway in my courses, as I had mostly chosen online classes this semester, in anticipation of this surgery occurring sometime in the semester. My appointment to meet with a counselor was scheduled for the 30th. I was nervous, but hoped to make that appointment.

As luck would have it, I got ‘the call’ on the 28th at 5 pm, and had my kidney transplant surgery on the 29th at 2 pm. The surgery was a success and I am on the road to recovery. This is the good part. The next is not.

I called the disability office, to let them know I would not be able to make the scheduled appoint­ment and why. The first person I spoke with on Tuesday could not think with what to do, how to handle my call or assist me in any way. In frustration, I hung up. On Wed, prior to surgery, I called again, in an attempt to do some­thing. Again, no help. The office will not do phone interviews, and I was told to schedule myself once I recovered. However I am on immunosuppressant drugs, and heavy doses right now, so cannot be on the germ-filled campus that is CNM. I tried to tell the person this, but again, no understanding. I asked to have my husband attend the appointment and fill in for me. No go.

So, in spite of the promise of assistance, I have had to work on my own, with my instructors, to make any concessions. Fortunately, all but one has been very amenable to assisting me and I should be able to make up any missed course work.

It is time of the disability office to look at its policies and procedures. Not everyone has a learning disability, which they seem to be able to handle well. Some of us have temporary medi­cal disability, and need to be able to have the assistance of the office in order to make our time at CNM productive. A simple phone inter­view would have made all the dif­ference. I ask the administration to relook at their policies to see what can be done to truly service the students of CNM.

Kim Wagner

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