The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE DSS to move testing facility

By Dylan Bradley/ne news editor

Dylan Bradley/The Collegian  The current NE DSS testing center has four computer stations and space for up to 13 students to test.
Dylan Bradley/The Collegian The current NE DSS testing center has four computer stations and space for up to 13 students to test.

NE disabled student Katherine Johnson-James will not return to NE Campus to pursue her studies next semester.

While she faces many hardships due to her disability, her reason for leaving is spurred by the campus moving the disabled student services testing center so that it can be used as a student organization meeting room. She said she feels like her rights are being overlooked in the process.

Located on the outskirts of the gaming area next to the Galley (NSTU 1506), the testing center was separated from the DSS office in 2004 due to lack of space.

The current location has four computers, one of which is wheelchair-accessible, desk-space for 13 students, two proctor desks, a whiteboard and a projector.

The new room, once it’s completely outfitted, will contain three computers, two of which will be wheelchair-accessible, one desk partitioned into four individual spaces and one proctor desk.

Disability student services coordinator Kim Eason said that space will accommodate five to six students at one time.

Campus administrators approved the move because student organizations need more space and the noise levels from the game room could disrupt testing.

Director of student development services Paula Vastine said she offered the room currently being used to the DSS office when there was plenty of space.

“It’s not a good place. It’s noisy, right next to the gameroom,” she said. “This will be better. I think we owe it to the student organizations to have a little more space for them.”

She said NE currently has 62 clubs that have run out of places to meet, and the three spaces available are pretty small.

NE vice president for student development services Magdalena de la Teja said the move is temporary until the DSS office can be renovated though there is no anticipated date of that renovation happening.

NE student Quentin Johnson is legally blind and has a service dog named Slater who helps him around campus. He is concerned with the size of the new room and being able to comfortably fit in the room with other students, especially those with wheelchairs.

“It seems to me it’s going to be crowded and cluttered,” he said. “It’s going to cause a lot of chaos over there, especially during the testing time.”

Finals week is a concern for several disabled students.

“I can see us sitting in chairs with clipboards in our laps taking our tests,” Johnson-James said. “I can’t see any advantages to where it’s going now.”

NE student Venetta Fields said she worries her tests might be disrupted because of the smaller space.

“People are going to be coming in and out, and I’m going to be disturbed,” she said.

De la Teja said steps are being taken to ensure there is the right amount of space.

“We are getting assistance from the proper personnel at TCC that are going to help us to ensure we are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” she said.

De la Teja, Vastine and Eason cited the noise level of the gameroom next to the current center’s location as a reason for the move, but both Johnson and Johnson-James said noise is no issue for them.

“We can close the door and we have earplugs,” Johnson-James said. “Noise has never been a problem.”

Outside of space for testing, some DSS students are concerned with finding a new place to do homework.

“This is a testing center. It’s not a study center or a homework lab,” Eason said. “Students have been using the other room as that, and that’s been great because we have been able to supply them with space and time to do it, but since it is a testing center, that will be our primary concern.”

Students with trouble typing or reading use the DRAGON speech-to-text and/or the JAWS screen-reading software, respectively.

“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do my work efficiently,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be too crowded.”

NE director of library services Mark Dolive is aware that some students will be directed to the library in the event of overcrowding in the new room. He said the library staff will receive training on helping students use the programs but will not be adding additional stations.

“We have a 45-year-old building. Electricity is a problem,” Dolive said. “Right now, we can’t expand anything until we have more electrical capability.”

Johnson-James said she thinks it’s just not fair.

“It’s like they’re trying to fit a circle into a square peg,” she said. “You can’t cut the edges off of disabled people.”

There will be an information session to answer questions and address concerns about the move at 2 p.m. April 18 in the DSS office (NSTU 1502).

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