Students met yesterday in the Michigan Union Tap Room to discuss ways to make the University more accessible for students with learning disabilities.

Central to the discussion was this question: What is the University’s responsibility to students with learning disabilities?

The meeting comes just days after Zack Yost stepped down from his post as Michigan Student Assembly president after an MSA representative made public a secret Facebook.com group Yost created a year and a half ago mocking an MSA representative and referencing his Asperger’s syndrome.

Yesterday’s meeting was led by LSA senior Aghogho Edevbie, who also organized a meeting a week earlier intended to force Yost from the presidency. Among the 20 or so in attendance were Yost and at least eight MSA members. Edevbie had tried to launch a campaign last Sunday to force Yost’s resignation.

Division of Kinesiology senior Thatiana Tavarez said she attended the meeting because she thinks faculty members need more education on the problems students with learning disabilities face in the classroom.

“A lot of teachers just aren’t educated on the issue of disabilities,” Tavarez said.

MSA Rep. Tim Hull, the LSA senior who was the subject of Yost’s Facebook group, said the level of understanding varies from professor to professor. Hull said some professors give him the extra time he needs occasionally for projects and tests while others do not.

“It is somewhat hard to look for various accommodations,” he said. “There are some areas where there aren’t very many resources, and you just have to advocate for yourself.”

Students at yesterday’s meeting agreed that increasing awareness among faculty and staff should be the group’s primary goal.

Edevbie said the group plans to incorporate itself into MSA’s newly revived Students with Disabilities Select Committee at tomorrow’s MSA meeting. He said he might volunteer to co-chair that committee.

Yost, quiet for most of the meeting, suggested that someone contact the chair of SACUA, which represents the University’s faculty.

Other students suggested that the group focus first on smaller, more approachable issues. MSA Rep. Elson Liu, a Rackham student, proposed that the group work on forming a volunteer-based note-taking service for students who need it.

“It’s a simple and meaningful first step,” Liu said.

With fall semester ending this week, the group made plans to continue its work next month. A tentative list of projects the group plans to undertake will be compiled this week, and the group will decide on which ones to pursue next month, Edevbie said.

“I feel like we got a lot of the issues surrounding disabilities on the table,” he said. “There’s still time to get more, but I think (yesterday’s meeting) was a really good starting point.”

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