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OU Accessibility, Disability Resource Center asks faculty, staff to volunteer during finals week

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Disability Resource Center

The sign in front of the Office of the University Community that houses the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center on April 15. The ADRC helps provide resources and equal opportunities for OU students, employees and faculty members.

The OU Accessibility and Disability Resource Center emailed a request to OU faculty and staff on Monday to volunteer in its operations during finals week — a request that, according to an OU faculty member, reflects on the public resource’s lack of funding. 

In the email, OU ADRC Director Chelle’ Guttery asked OU faculty and staff to allot four-hour blocks to proctor students taking exams during the five-day final exams period Dec. 13-17. 

During the Fall 2019 semester, the ADRC administered over 1,100 final exams during the final examination period, Guttery wrote. Expecting a similar outcome this semester, the ADRC will utilize space within the center to expand testing capacity instead of using classrooms across campus as they have in the past. 

In a message to The Daily, former ADRC student employee and economics senior Isabel Reyes described finals week during her time at the center from 2018-2019 as “a mess.” She wrote the center had one volunteer during finals week.  

When the ADRC utilized classrooms to proctor students, the center was left understaffed, Reyes wrote. Since many of its employees were students, she wrote that the number of available employees during finals week declined. 

In an email to The Daily, Guttery said the request for volunteers wasn’t a matter of staffing, but rather an acknowledgment of the 1,300 students currently registered with the ADRC taking exams during a single week, instead of a broader timeline as they would during the semester. She wrote that volunteers will not receive compensation or incentives. 

The OU chapter of the American Association of University Professors President and political science professor Michael Givel said the ADRC’s call for volunteers is a reflection of reduced federal funding for higher education in Oklahoma. Givel clarified his opinion was not on behalf of the OU AAUP. 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Oklahoma experienced a 35.3 percent decrease in state spending per student, while average tuition increased 31.8 percent from 2008-2019. 

“The whole purpose of reducing spending for OU has been … running government as a business,” Givel said. “But, this is not a profit-making situation. This is a service. Making a profit in this situation is a crystal clear example of why we need more funding because serving students who have this very real need without enough funds is causing this situation." 

Reyes wrote that, while having extra workers at the center is a “fantastic” idea, she’s unsure if a lack of compensation for volunteers is fair. 

“It's a lot going on at once, and you really have to have your head in the game,” Reyes wrote. “If there (are) only a few volunteers that aren't putting their all into it and have no incentive to be there, I feel like it may just add more chaos.”

senior news reporter

Alexia Aston is a journalism and political science sophomore and news editor at The Daily. She started at The Daily in the fall of 2020 as a news reporter and served as a senior news reporter. She is originally from Clinton, Oklahoma.

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