Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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    Cut to disabled students program leaves Laney open to lawsuit

    A MULTI-PART SERIES ON SERVICES FOR DISABLED STUDENTS AT THE PERALTA COLLEGES

    John Kress

    For the second year in a row, disabled students who enroll in summer classes at Laney College will have no support staff to help them navigate the assistive software and hardware they need to succeed.

    John Kress, the computer technician for Laney College’s Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) department, says this leaves Laney vulnerable to costly lawsuits — not to mention the cost
    to disabled students themselves.

    “Let’s pretend [a student] needed ZoomText, and they have to take a typing class and they’re saying, ‘I need to have an alternate keyboard and an enlarged screen,” he said.

    Kress explained that, should this or similar scenarios play out summer for disabled students: “They’ll probably not pass the class.”

    As Laney’s DSPS technician, Kress spends his time in the DSPS High Tech Center, where he is always on hand to help students who use assistive technology.

    According to Kress, several years ago, administrators at Laney approached Kress and said they were simply “out of money.” Instead of working year-round as had in years prior, he would now only be paid to work for ten months’ worth of hours, leaving his position unfilled during the summer.

    Kress pitched a workaround: he offered to work less hours during the school year, and “make up” those hours over the summer, allowing him to be available year-round.

    Computer

    However, Kress came in early and stayed late — as he continues to do.

    Last summer, however, Kress was barred from working during the summer. Despite volunteering his time free of charge, DSPS Coordination Marion Martin told Kress they couldn’t allow him to do so.

    Kress said that, although Laney will not technically be out of compliance with federal law, it leaves room for lawsuits alleging that Laney failed to provide disabled students with adequate support.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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