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Monday, November 22, 2010

This Is Wrong

  Eliza Schaaf is a student at Southern Oregon University, or at least she was until November 8. The student, who was auditing a Ceramics class, was told that she was no longer welcome.

  According to the University, she was not qualified to participate in the class and her presence “resulted in a disruption of curriculum delivery and interfered with the teaching and learning environment for the instructor and other students.”. You see, Eliza Schaaf has a genetic condition that many know as Down Syndrome. As a consolation, the University offered to refund her tuition while reiterating their stance that she was unwelcome. 

  Eliza Schaaf's classmates have absolutely no idea what the honchos at SOU are talking about, for administrators have never been to a class to witness for themselves whether or not Eliza is capable of doing the work. Her classmates were not interviewed by school administration, for if they had they would have known that her classmates felt she added to their experience. Every student even signed a letter to the university stating that neither Eliza nor her assistant were a disruption and that they wanted their classmate back. Students in other classes have signed separate petitions and protested; the Student Senate voting unanimously on a resolution to pressure the school to keep Eliza Schaff on the student roll. All of this is to no avail, SOU is standing with their decision. 

  SOU has completely dropped the ball here. With only 2 classes left, they should let Eliza finish and take her experience to another school. She was obviously permitted at the school to begin with and her classmates adore her. How school officials can live with themselves is beyond me. As for Eliza, she signed up for lessons about art and was enrolled in Discrimination 101.

About Eliza

“I have never thought of myself as being disabled. I am not a disability. I am a person who loves to learn.” - Eliza Schaaf

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