The Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services reviewed student accommodation applications for the Spring 2021 semester — resulting in some registered students being removed from receiving early class registration, a service they had received in previous semesters. The students affected were not notified of the change until they contacted SAILS directly.
Before the review, SAILS, formerly the Disability Resource Center, identified all students in need of early class registration when they applied for accommodation services and marked if they needed it. But as time went on, the system it used "was populated with all the new students who were applying and receiving SAILS services whether they required early course registration or not," a University spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement.
This semester, the SAILS team updated its system and realized students who were ineligible for early class registration were receiving it, the spokesperson said in a phone call. The staff then reviewed each student's application and determined if they needed the service or not.
"Those who were identified as needing early course registration were flagged as such, and they did not experience any changes in service," the spokesperson wrote in the statement. "Those who were identified, based on their application information, as not needing this additional accommodation were removed from early course registration."
In a follow-up email Tuesday, the spokesperson wrote students were only notified of the change if they contacted SAILS directly about why they were no longer receiving early class registration.
“Several factors were considered to determine if a student needed an early course enrollment accommodation, including but not limited to, the type of disability, the impact of the disability and the related accommodations that a student may need in advance of taking a course,” the spokesperson wrote.
This semester, there are more than 5,500 students registered with SAILS, the spokesperson wrote. About 1%, or 55 students, are known to have been affected by the sudden change, but the spokesperson did not say how many students were taken off early class registration.
Anthony Remedios, a freshman studying sports journalism who is registered with SAILS for deaf and hard of hearing accommodations, said he had noticed his class registration day for the upcoming fall semester did not open up on the first day as it had when he registered for this spring semester, something he assumed was just “luck of the draw,” until he read about the change in policy in The State Press.
Remedios said he was not notified of the change in policy by SAILS but that it did not impact him for next semester’s classes.
Chad Price, director of SAILS, did not respond to requests for an interview or statement. The spokesperson said this is because “my response serves as the university response, including Chad."
An ASU professor, who requested anonymity because they were not familiar with the specifics of the situation, also inquired about the change to the early class registration and received a response from Price, which they sent to The State Press.
In the email, Price wrote SAILS evaluates each accommodation on a case-by-case basis, "reviewing a student's disability and the impact of that disability on the student" before making a final decision. In the update, certain students with certain disabilities were determined to not be eligible when SAILS reviewed the accommodations.
Price wrote some students may have been missed in the update. Both Price and the spokesperson wrote that if students are no longer receiving the service, but feel they should be, they can contact SAILS to be reevaluated.
"SAILS staff has been communicating with faculty and encouraging them to reach out if a student expresses a need for additional support," the spokesperson wrote. "If students would like their case reconsidered, they are encouraged to reach out to SAILS to speak to their Disability Access Consultant."
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 10:04 p.m. on March 2 to include new information from an ASU spokesperson.
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Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.