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More Snowflakes: Colleges Expanding Definition of 'Disabled Student'

Anyone who has followed academic issues since the anti-intellectual 1960s knows that the university is in serious trouble, catering to a professoriate that has bought into the travesty of “social justice” a coercive ideology obsessed with “victim groups.”

The university’s ancestral mission of pursuing truth has been replaced by a species of social engineering and leftist indoctrination. At the same time, it views its mandate as establishing a “safe space” for a student clientele that spends far too much of its time and energy “wringing its hands over pronouns, gluten and microaggressions” rather than devoting itself to the rigors of study and the acquisition of honest merit. These impoverished souls have come to be known as “snowflakes,” justifiably.

One of the most revealing indicators of the university’s failure to consistently produce able-minded graduates is the institutionalizing of disability accommodation through adapted exams and other measures implemented by Student Access Services. The intention was originally a laudable one: to help otherwise capable students with serious or crippling infirmities to further their academic careers with every reasonable chance of success. Like many noble endeavors, it soon tumbled victim to the law of unintended consequences.

Within a very short period, disabilities multiplied like rabbits on steroids. A poor memory became a disability, for which students were allowed to bring a “Memory Aid” to exams -- once called “cheating.” Fear of exams became a disability for which the student could be permitted to write at home. Bipolarity became a disability for which a student could request assignment deferrals and forgiveness for class absences, sometimes amounting to credit received for a course almost never attended. Habitual time-stress became a disability for which extra writing time would be allotted. Students who are unequal to the task of listening to and summarizing lecture material can request a “note-taker” conscripted from the student body -- a permit which entails a host of obvious pragmatic and pedagogical perplexities.

Scent allergies became a disability, requiring teachers to abjure cologne or provide the student with an unoccupied room. Difficulty with normative procedures became a disability requiring advance course outlines and transcriptions of what are called “alternative format materials.” Dyslexia became a disability akin to blindness. A note from a psychologist reporting a student “under my care” can be used to set aside academic criteria and official class deportment.

Almost every conceivable inconvenience that most of us dealt with individually in our day as students has become a disability needing singular accommodation -- a sequel glossed over by the typically bland and misleading language of Access documents stressing “academic integrity” and respect for “standards of achievement.” The discrepancy between word and act is glaring. A “letter of attestation” provided by the Service acknowledges the teacher’s authority; the fact is that her authority is progressively undermined as the student’s demands take precedence over the teacher’s prerogatives.