ADA settlement creates temporary space shortage at DVC

Sean Ross, News editor

As a result of Diablo Valley College’s recent settlement with a wheelchair bound student, who alleged Title III violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a number of desks will need to be removed from some classrooms. The consequence of this removal is a reduced enrollment capacity in any sections held in those classrooms.

How many desks? Seven in total, according to DVC’s Dean of Instruction Kim Schenk. This may seem like a negligible number, but even one less chair in a classroom can have a tremendous impact.

That’s one less student that can enroll in every section that is held in a room that has lost a chair, and potentially adds more students to compete with for a spot in future sections.

While DVC has plenty of seats available during “off hours,” most students tend to concentrate their academic schedules between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. During this “prime time” window DVC is, in the words of Ms. Schenk, “completely impacted.” Meaning, enrollment is already completely full to capacity. That capacity is not sufficient to meet the demands of all students, who may not be able to attend classes during outside of “prime time” hours due to work or family commitments.

To meet increasing demands during impacted hours, DVC has approved construction of several new buildings over the next ten years, including new art, general use, and kinesiology buildings.

In the interim, the Office of Instruction is doing everything possible to minimize the impact of the settlement on enrollment. Desk removal was only done as a last resort after rearranging classroom layouts and replacing old desks with new ones with a smaller footprint.

While the order of construction has not been decided, a steering committee is in the final stages of being formed to oversee the administrative details. This committee will include a number of student representatives in addition to DVC administrators.