Deaf student says UC Berkeley didn't provide interpreter

- For Nancy Barker, being deaf has not kept her from from overcoming obstacles. That is, she says,  until she came here to UC Berkeley.

KTVU spoke with her through a sign language interpreter.

"I did not think I would have such barriers put between me and my PhD.," said Barker.

Barker is a visiting student researcher from Canada on the home stretch of getting her PhD. in ecological sciences and conservation.

"I am totally prevented from having access to the knowledge I am surrounded at at UC Berkeley," she said.
She says he has been prevented by a lack of sufficient access to an interpreter. She says for almost all of last semester, the university did not provide her with one.

"I sat in a classroom trying to read lips, trying to understand," she said,

Barker says she did finally get an interpreter for a brief time, but saw that time reduced from  21 hours a week to now only eight hours. She says it's just not enough. And her PhD dissertation is in jeopardy.

"A student in a wheelchair, who provides the ramps? A person who is blind, who provides a book in braille? It's the same thing for a deaf person." she said.

Barker says she has requested the university allow her to stay an extra semester to help make up for lost time. Otherwise, she will have to return home to Canada in August.

 A university spokesman issued a statement regarding disabled students saying, "We provide all services within reason, without exception, when they are needed."  He added he can't discuss individual cases.

If she had it to do over again, would Barker still come to UC Berkeley?

"No I wouldn't. I would chose another university. It's not worth it," she said.

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