GUSA passes resolution to fund interpreters and draw attention to issue of accessibility

The GUSA Senate unanimously passed a resolution Sunday that asks the university to fund sign language interpreters for student events without using the Student Activities Fee. The resolution also calls attention to accessibility issues on campus overall.

GUSA wants to ensure that student groups do not have to fund their own interpreters in the future and that they would also have a place to go if they need to use an interpreter at an event. Furthermore, the resolution makes clear that the university, rather than SAC, should fund such “operational costs.”

“[The resolution] asks that the university reanalyzes [its] accessibility policies to ensure that there are no barriers in place from preventing any Hoya from enjoying the full Georgetown experience,” said GUSA senator Abbey McNaughton (COL ’16), who introduced the bill.

The resolution reads, “students with hearing impairments have repeatedly been denied by Georgetown University from receiving interpretation services in non-classroom settings.”

This issue stands in contrast to the section of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 the resolution cites, which says, “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person…”

“Lecture Fund has repeatedly voiced concern for the need for funding so that students with hearing impairments are able to attend all of their events,” McNaughton told Vox.

According to the Voice‘s feature on deaf culture, administrators recognize that the process for hiring interpreters is bureaucratic, and at that time in late February, they were looking to smooth the system.

Anne Riordan, advisor for disability and learning skills at the [Academic Resource Center], agrees and explains that these complications often emerge because the ARC works with two external interpreting agencies and, due to high demand, students must submit a request at least four weeks in advance in order to secure an interpreter at a class or event,” the feature reads.

Vox reached out to the university for a comment on the resolution and will update the post when she hears back.

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