University of Toronto approves Mandatory Leave policy

High contrast image of University College building at the University of Toronto at dusk

Over the past year, the University of Toronto has been working on a Mandatory Leave policy that would allow them to ‘suspend’ students experiencing mental illness. Late this week, that policy was finalized.

Mandatory leave policies like this set us back decades on naturalizing disability on campus and efforts to destigmatize accommodation services. Students are just starting to ask for the help they need but now may be too afraid to self identify for fear of forced leave. Disability is already horrendously under represented at the university level and this policy may well drive disability further underground. That’s a real problem when seen in the context of unemployment among DPs, a number driven in part by a lack of access to education.
Continue reading “University of Toronto approves Mandatory Leave policy”

Doin’ what you can

The box of a Commodore 64
This was my first computer. Look at that blazing speed, raw processing power and a whole 64 kilobytes of memory to boot! You have to make a choice though: you can either save a 10-page word document or about 5 seconds of your favourite song in mp3 format. (Image from computercloset.org)

From a young age, my parents always encouraged me to focus on my abilities and not dwelling on my disability–wise words I still cherish to this day. Looking back on it now, I’ve discovered my parents had ulterior motives to these sage words, aiming not just to make me feel better about disability but to inspire me to overcome it. You see, my parents figured out something very important out when I was just a little boy: they realized that slowly but surely I would grow up and, like all kids, there would come a time when they wouldn’t be there to support me anymore and I would be left to my own devices. Rather than dwelling on all the unfathomable barriers I would face in my life, my parents decided they would do whatever possible to give me the best opportunity to succeed and put me in a place where I could care for myself. Continue reading “Doin’ what you can”