UA has multiple reporting mechanisms for different types of issues. It appears to have separate reporting systems for “non-emergency safety concerns and threatening behavior” and “non-emergency student concerns,” but both actually link to the same CARE Report form, which covers situations such as “mental health issue” and “disability concern.” These reports are then submitted to the Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment Team (BIT-TAT). Detailed guidance is provided for both categories of concern. Examples of “threatening behavior” include “Notable change in academic performance – poor or inconsistent preparation,” “Impairment of thoughts,” “Inappropriate or strange behavior,” “Lack of resiliency,” “Lack of empathy and concern for others; inability to care,” “Appearance of being overly nervous, tense or tearful,” and “Withdrawal and isolation.” For students who are not performatively prosocial, these red flags can promote a campus culture in which neurodivergent students are viewed with suspicion and fear, while also placing an excessive burden on neurodivergent students to conform, or mask.
In 2017, UA was ranked #15 in the Advocate’s list of “The 20 Colleges Most Hostile to LGBT Students.”
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Graduate student Gordon Xiong, who has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and is immunocompromised, is in his seventh year at the university and has no interest in returning after finishing his master’s degree. He is troubled by what he sees as poor treatment from the university.
In another incident, staff of the Equal Employment Opportunity Center suggested outfitting his wheelchair with a sort of battering ram to open bathroom doors in the Graduate Education Building, despite the potential damage that could cause to the wheelchair, Xiong said.
“All I want is an environment I can feel safe in, and I don’t feel safe,” Xiong said. “I have to fight for (safety and inclusion).”
Three days before the start of the fall semester, an assistant professor in the UofA’s Counselor Education and Supervision Program sent an email to students enrolled in her fall courses notifying them she would be unable to teach the classes. Since then, outrage has been building among CESP students and faculty members who say Tameeka Hunter’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated when she was denied a request to teach remotely.
“It is with grave disappointment that I share that I will be unable to teach this course Fall Semester 2021,” Hunter said in her Aug. 20 email. “I have a life-long disability, and I am not permitted to teach this course remotely as an ADA Accommodation.”
Hunter, who teaches in the rehabilitation counseling track, told students and colleagues she could not safely teach in person during the COVID-19 pandemic, so she withdrew from instructing after university administrators denied her request to teach remotely.