Mathew McCarthy,Record staff
Roch Longueepee has complained to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after local universities denied him admission. Longueepee, an activist for the disabled, argues the schools did not take into consideration his brain injury.
Reposted from an online story By Jeff Outhit
WATERLOO — He was denied admission to local universities, unfairly he claims due to his brain injury.
Roch Longueépée has complained to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, alleging discrimination by Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.
“When I start a fight I don’t let go and I finish it,” he said. “And that’s what’s going to happen here. These universities … can’t expect that, when someone applies to their university, that they can just be unreasonable.”
Longueépée, 43, survived child abuse and gained a profile advocating for children who are victims of institutional care. He says he has been diagnosed with a brain injury and post-traumatic stress after a traumatic childhood in the Maritimes.
Today he lives in Kitchener, drawing on government support for the disabled, and he plans to advocate for disabled people seeking university educations.
He researched Ontario universities and concluded they would not give proper consideration to his disability. “I made a decision that I can either choose just to let this go, or I can just pick a couple of universities and go after them. And that’s what I chose to do,” he said. “I’m angry.”
Longueépée says Laurier and UW rejected him this year when he sought admission as a mature student for a bachelor’s degree program. He said they pointed to a poor academic record more than a decade old.
Laurier president Max Blouw and UW president Feridun Hamdullahpur would not comment. The schools have yet to formally respond to his discrimination complaint.
Longueépée contends universities must accommodate brain-injured students who are capable of earning degrees. He suggests waiving application fees, considering credit for life experiences, and rescheduling exam times to accommodate medical appointments.
The tribunal rules on discrimination complaints under Ontario’s human rights code. Longueépée is seeking $15,000 from each school, the option of admission, an apology and procedures to “level the playing field for students with disabilities.” A lawyer is helping to press his complaint.
Laurier said in a statement that it “provides ongoing support for students who need special accommodation during their studies.”
UW said in a statement it considered his documents as a courtesy but “never received a formal application for admission” from Longueépée. He dismissed the point as irrelevant. “Their policy and rules are not the law” he said.