Are you looking to understand your options for academic accommodations related to traumatic experience based on race?

Have you experienced impacts from racism, racial trauma, racial violence, and are looking for academic accommodations related to those experiences and impacts? Resources and support are available. 

AccessAbility Services (AAS) is the University’s centralized office for facilitating academic accommodations for students with disabling conditions, including students experiencing the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of a trauma.

Register with AccessAbility Services to access the accommodations and supports available to you (you do not need documentation verifying a disability/disabling condition to apply).

You will not be asked to share your experiences of racial trauma or violence – only to express the specific impacts on your academic functioning (e.g., impacts on short-term memory, ability to focus, etc.) You should not feel pressured to disclose any information about your experiences that you do not want to.

Step 1: Apply for Academic Accommodations

  • Go to the AccessAbility Services application page and click the “Apply Now” button. Sign into their secure online system to complete the application form, using your username@uwaterloo.ca account.
  • In the application, for question 8, you would select the third option: “I am experiencing impacts from one or more of the following trauma that are impacting my ability to participate fully in my courses/program: War and other forms of geographical violence; racial, cultural, intergenerational or historic trauma; witnessed or experienced physical, emotional or sexual trauma; sudden or violent loss of a loved one; accidents and natural disasters”.  

Step 2: Complete an Academic Accommodation Self-Assessment Form

  • Complete the online Academic Accommodation Self-Assessment Form after completing the application.
  • This form enables AAS to learn about the barriers you are experiencing in the academic environment, so they can begin to design your individualized accommodation plan.

Step 3: Schedule your appointment with your Accommodation Consultant

  • Once your application and self-assessment form has been reviewed, you will receive an email from AAS inviting you to schedule an appointment with an Accommodation Consultant. Please call or email the office to schedule this appointment. Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 35082. Email: access@uwaterloo.ca.

Step 4: Meet with your Accommodation Consultant

  • At your meeting, you will: a) finalize your accommodation plan, b) learn how to request and manage your accommodations, c) discuss privacy and confidentiality, and d) discuss next steps.
  • At this meeting, you may be asked to share the impact of trauma on your academics, and the aspects of your education that pose barriers.  You will not be asked to share your story of racial trauma or violence.

Step 5: Request and manage your accommodations

  • You will request and manage your online accommodations using their online system.
  • Your Accommodation Consultant will be available throughout the term when needed should you require ongoing or additional support.

Other avenues of support:

Students can access Counselling Services for support processing and validating their experiences, navigating the university system, and providing verification (including VIFs) of the mental health impacts of racial violence/trauma (upon request/with consent). In the intake process students can request a racialized counsellor/mental health professional.

Students can also access the Equity Office (equity@uwaterloo.ca) to receive support talking through your experiences, understand your options, and discuss potential next steps.