Thursday, February 9, 2023

ASMSU fights for future of program

September 4, 2001

One of the best visually impaired programs in the nation was placed under a moratorium, and ASMSU representatives are fighting to keep it running.

In June, the College of Education’s visual impairment program, which includes hearing and mental disabilities, was put on a year long hiatus while university officials review the program.

The freeze on the program was preceded by the resignation of one of its leaders, Susan Bruce, an assistant professor of counseling educational psychology & special education for nine years. ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, presented a bill at its meeting Aug. 28 to discuss the issue.

“This is the main hub of the hearing and visually impaired programs,” said Chris Wisniewski, Council of Students with Disabilities representative to the Academic Assembly, at the meeting. He added the program at MSU was one of the best in the Midwest.

University officials have said the program is too costly for its low enrollment. About 30 students were enrolled in the program.

Wisniewski and other members of the Academic Assembly don’t believe financial problems were the demise of the program.

“We get federal grants to support the program,” Wisniewski said. “We’re wasting valuable time, this year is already messed up. We are spinning our wheels in the mud.”

Jeff Ziarko, director of undergraduate budgetary affairs, said at the meeting that the program was struggling and this is just a temporary measure to further evaluate the program.

The deaf and blind education program isn’t required at Michigan universities, but Eastern Michigan University is the only other school in the state that has a visually impaired program.

Jeanette Lantzy, the newly elected Academic Assembly external vice chairwoman, said last Tuesday that the dean of the College of Education will not meet with her. ASMSU wants to find out the motives of the faculty who chose to put the program on hold.

The bill to lift the moratorium, proposed by Wisniewski, was tabled until ASMSU could meet with representatives from both the College of Education and the visually impaired program. No date or time was set.

College of Engineering representative Shaun Phillips said the program will not be cut until it goes through the University Committee on Academic Governance.

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