TransitOttawa.ca emailed one member of that group, Virginie Corneau St-Hilaire. She is a fifth-year communications student and coordinator of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa's Centre for Students with Disabilities.
She had this to say about the policy:
OC Transpo's definition of "student" is very cut and dry; it doesn't take into account people who take a break after high school to work and make money to pay for their studies, those who take more than 4 years to complete their Undergrad, or those who decide to pursue Graduate studies. Students with disabilities are also considered full time with a reduced course load, but would be affected by this because they obviously would not finish their studies in the prescribed 4 years, especially at 3 or 4 classes per semester, as I have seen from the users of the Centre for Students with Disabilities. There are many circumstances that come into play in defining how long someone will be in school, and when they will start and end their studies, and I find that OC Transpo's definition of what a student is fails to take into account all those people, perhaps on purpose to pad their bottom line.St-Hilaire also noted that she would participate in a protest about this issue:
I'm not the type to protest just about anything, but the accessibility of post-secondary studies is something that's important to me, since I've encountered some financial obstacles myself.
Even if you aren't full time, why would it take you 10 years to complete your degree? From the end of high school until you are no longer able to buy a student pass is between 9 and 10 years for most students, so I can't see how the part time argument is anything other than a waste of time. If they set the age limit at 22 or 23, absolutely, but 27? If you go half time after high school you could potentially get a bachelors and a masters by the time you are no longer able to buy a student bus pass.
Also, don't they already have a pass that is discounted for students with disabilities? So I fail to see that argument as effective either.
Disability is not restricted to "wheelchair users", who do get a discounted pass as it is.
However, deaf students for example, are considered full time at 3 courses, and are not eligible for a discounted bus pass (aside from the normal student bus pass) because based on their deafness alone are not limited in their mobility.
On the topic of how long it takes to get a degree, you tell me: my 4 year degree has so far taken me 5, and would have taken me 6 if I hadn't downgraded to the 3 year degree to get out faster. Circumstances happen in people's lives that may require them to take one or multiple semesters off to work, take care of family problems, or give birth to a child (for example.) That doesn't mean that when they restart their studies, they will not be enduring the same hardships as a 20 year old or a 25 year old student.
This also puts financial hardship on people in such situations who may wish to pursue Graduate studies.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the perfect circumstances to allow them to start and finish a degree on time, and I think that that needs to be taken into account.
TD: seconded. You're not looking at the real world of students, especially mature students, here.
I'm another mature student. My profession has changed several times since I originally graduated in '86. I'm therefore back in school again, and living on ZERO income. I'm not looking forward to when the snow is too deep for travel by cycle, I then have to start getting taken for a ride in the worse sense by transit.
This is just a form of ageism, and that is discrimination, plain and simple!
'Bye for now
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