Canadian Law Faculty Extra-time debate

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Canadian Law Faculty members debate over the provision of extra-time on exams for mental health-related disabilities. 

The debate related to students with disabilities being granted extra time for exams continues in this November 2017 University Affairs article by Andre Costopoulos. 

In his 2016 article published in the Education and Law Journal, Bruce Pardy, a law professor at Queens University, argues that “extra-time accommodations are not legitimate and should not be granted because they tilt the playing field against the best students.” 

In response to this argument, Renu Mandhane, Ontario Human Rights chief commissioner, conveys a poignant response in an article published by the Huffington Post. In short, she asserts that “The hard truth is, not all subjectively desired qualifications are objectively essential. Just because a professor might prefer a student who does not require additional time on an exam, does not make the absence of mental disability an essential qualification. Instead, a careful, good-faith inquiry into the truly necessary qualifications must be undertaken to support the needs of our students.” 

Likewise, in response to Pardy’s article, York University’s Benjamin Berger, Associate Dean and Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, respectively, point to the importance of universal design in a National Post article published in August 2017. “This is the idea that barriers are not in the individual but rather in the environment, and that appropriately designed environments remove barriers that are unnecessary.” 

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