Susan Malcolm and Sarah Baker appear to be appropriate candidates for the program they chose to study and I’m sure in another community college, one that paid more than lip service to diversity, they would have been successful.
They are to be honoured for their courage to tell their story of the humiliation and discrimination they encountered from two instructors who were teaching in the Community Support Program at Yukon College in 2004.
Shame on Yukon College.
Each student brings their unique blend of experience and abilities to the program they choose, and those who have been out of the workforce, or at away educational institutions for extended periods of time, for whatever reason, bring with them extra self-consciousness.
It is the institution’s responsibility to provide a framework for student success that obviously includes hiring instructors who are not only knowledgeable in the content of their courses, but also competent classroom teachers who understand, support and promote the individual strengths of their students.
It is the institution’s responsibility to provide the resources for instructors to do their jobs. Where were the student counselling services, the disability support services, the accommodations for students with disabilities?
Where was help for the two instructors who were not qualified for the job they were doing?
Where was help for these women when they were challenged by their instructor’s power to shame them?
They were on their own, they persevered and they won their case before the Yukon Human Rights Commission fair and square.
Then the college, instead of doing the right thing by, first, compensating the students’ enormous financial and emotional losses and, second, publicly assessing the college’s systemic problems, instead appealed the commission’s decision.
The message is clear. If you’re an older student, a student with disabilities, a student who from appearance does not “fit in,” you’re not welcome at Yukon College.