Page 1 of 2 [ 29 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

SteelMaiden
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,841
Location: London

26 Jul 2014, 4:04 am

UCL (the uni I go to) are trying to kick me out.

The most of the first year they gave me no support at all, despite that I was begging for support; I was freaking out and having severe meltdowns due to overload on a daily basis. I was sectioned four times in total in the first academic year, all of which involved police officers restraining me, handcuffing me and forcing me into the back of a police van to go to hospital. Second year I applied to go part time due to severe mental health problems. They grudgingly agreed. A year ago I developed severe migraines. I am facing the possibility of an operation to install an occipital nerve stimulator - that is how bad my migraines are.

Now the uni are trying to find a way to take me off the course and chuck me out. They said that I'm not meeting their targets and that I may be classed as "unfit to study". "Unfit" is a reason, but chucking me out because I'm not meeting their targets to stay in their league table position, well that's discrimination.

University is the only thing that keeps me from committing suicide. I live a life of hallucinations, paranoia, severe migraines and severe anxiety (as well as the difficulties related to ASD); the only way I can "zone out" and take myself away from life is to pick up a textbook and study it while listening to classical music.

Now that I hear I might be taken off the course, I am reconsidering whether I should carry on living or not.

They're going to have a meeting in September with me and my autism support worker. My support worker is very good at his job so I have confidence that he will help me fight my position.

But I keep having panic attacks because of the prospect that I will be forced to quit uni.

I am unable to work (I'm on income support benefits and disability benefits) and I require a LOT of support at uni (a support worker with me at all times, and a free taxi service to uni for example) which a job couldn't replicate easily.

I need uni for its structure and learning.

What can I do now? I can't keep hoping and waiting until September.


_________________
I am a partially verbal classic autistic. I am a pharmacology student with full time support.


animalcrackers
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Feb 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,228
Location: Somewhere

26 Jul 2014, 6:24 am

Does UCL (or your program) actually define "academic insufficiency" in specifics (you didn't use this term, but I came across it when I searched for "unfit to study" and guessed this is what you meant by targets?)? When I was in post-secondary there were specific GPAs required or you would be put on academic probation, then academic suspension and those were written officially into school policy. I don't know how it works in the UK but I think if there is a specific GPA requiement for UCL or your program, and you have met that GPA, they should not be allowed to kick you out on the grounds of academic insufficiency -- even if your GPA is the lowest in the school or the lowest in your program. From the looks of it, there is something like a minimum GPA in here http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs/academic-regulations/docs/UG_Section_2_2013-2014_-_FINAL.pdf ..."pass marks" (page 20)? If you mean you are not going fast enough throught the program...well, they agreed to let you study part-time, so their targets should reflect part-time study goals for you -- otherwise they are basically just screwing you around.

According to what I could find and understand in the policy manual, to declare you unfit for study, they should either have to be able to prove that it is in your best interests to be forced to take a break from study, or that your presence at the school harms others. (See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/part-5/student-mental-health -- Section 9). In any case, even if you are kicked out (not just forced to take a break) you can apply to be let back in (section 9.4).

You can file a complaint with the school, and if nothing comes of that you can contact the student mediator (an advocate like your support worker could do these things with your written permission). See this page for info about mediation and the name of the student mediator http://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/part-5/student-mediator and this page http://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/part-5/student-complaints-procedure for info about filing compaints.

Don't give up yet, okay? Even if the worst-case scenario happens and they do kick you out, there are other universities and there may be other ways to meet your need for structure and learning (if the worst-worst-case scenario happened and you couldn't go to any university) -- your support worker might have some really good ideas about that, in addition to being able to advocate for you with the school.


_________________
"Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." -- Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Love transcends all.


Norny
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Dec 2013
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,486

26 Jul 2014, 6:25 am

What they're doing to you sounds at best, borderline illegal.

Your support worker requires assistance (legal, physicians) regarding the provision of documents to university support facilities. Any information they possess is not currently adequate (evidently, according to the uni) and not providing you proper clearance. They must be made aware, to full extent, of your disabilities - it must be documented.

I'm aware that this statement holds no merit as it could come from anybody, but don't end your life. You enjoy your studying and can still study on your own for now.


_________________
Unapologetically, Norny. :rambo:
-chronically drunk


brackets
Raven
Raven

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jul 2014
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 106
Location: Ontario

26 Jul 2014, 9:34 am

Oh, jeez. I don't really have anything helpful to offer, but best of luck dealing with the school. I took a lot of crap from my university, too, and it's awful.



Dantac
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,874
Location: Florida

26 Jul 2014, 10:50 am

Is there the option of being accommodated by them allowing you to take your courses online?

Or better yet, assign an assistant to either record the class sessions for you so you can watch the class at home...or set up a webcam-type device that streams the class to your pc at home (or maybe in a study room at the univ where you are alone and in a quiet environment) ...and hand in the assignments via email or to the assistant?

When I was in univ. one of my classmates got into a really bad accident and had to stay in a hospital bed for nearly 2 months. His sister would come to class, set a webcam and that way he could attend the class and even ask questions (he types, the sister asked the prof. out loud).



SteelMaiden
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,841
Location: London

26 Jul 2014, 11:45 am

Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

I asked if I could do it online for a while and my tutor laughed and said "this is not the Open University!"

I will have a look at the documents when I get home, that's really helpful.

I nearly got an average First Class in year one. This last year (year two part one) I got a lower mark but still well within the pass boundary.

My support worker said he will help me get legal advice if need be.

I've got a lot of supporters on my side so iI'll try to stay hopeful.

My tutor is a c**t, he tells me I'm being ridiculous when I ask for support


_________________
I am a partially verbal classic autistic. I am a pharmacology student with full time support.


Alyosha
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 164

26 Jul 2014, 12:21 pm

ucl are kind of actively discriminatory in their practises, they told a partiality sighted friend of mine at her interview that they don't accommodate disabled students. Just categorically don't. Sue them maybe



BuyerBeware
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 28 Sep 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,622
Location: PA, USA

26 Jul 2014, 12:47 pm

Please continue living. You're really smart and have lots of great insights, and we need you.

Even if they do throw you out, you don't have to quit studying. NO ONE can take that away from you. The best thing I learned at university was that I did not need the university to learn. I learned to read books, and search the Internet, and use the hell out of the library.

More than ten years out of university, I still study all the time. Even though I will never go back to higher education, because I don't like the "ivory tower" attitude and don't want to be among those people, I still read and research; someday, when my kids are older, I might even write again.

You don't need those people in order to study.


_________________
"Alas, our dried voices when we whisper together are quiet and meaningless, as wind in dry grass, or rats' feet over broken glass in our dry cellar." --TS Eliot, "The Hollow Men"


pezar
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Apr 2008
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,557

26 Jul 2014, 4:08 pm

I got kicked out of City College of San Francisco when I was 20. I kept taking classes and then dropping them since I would get overwhelmed and my ADHD would kick in and I wouldn't be able to concentrate, and in a big city like San Francisco there are plenty of distractions. I was going to a psychiatrist at the time, but he thought that adults "grew out of" ADHD (it was 1995). I kept getting put on academic probation, then after the third semester they told me not to come back. So I moved back to Sacramento and attended Sacramento City College and eventually graduated. It sounds like you get overwhelmed really easily. Maybe a formal studying environment isn't right for you. Also, you seem to be deteriorating mentally and physically, I see that you had to adjust your text so you could read it, and you had that awful time in Cyprus. I don't know what to tell you, except that you can still study even without the university.



tarantella64
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Feb 2011
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,901

26 Jul 2014, 4:12 pm

Is there a reason why it must be UCL? Because really they're not set up for this degree of accommodation and support, it's not what they're for. That prof who laughed was mean, but he's right, it's not an online as-you-can-manage-it university.

If I had to guess, I'd say the translation of their trying to shuck you is "you are disruptive and taking up a tremendous amount of faculty and support staff time, and we do not see that you're going to be able to complete this course successfully no matter how much effort we pour in anyway. We are trying to avoid a protracted, litigious, drawn-out nightmare for all. While we appreciate that this is important to you, we are not a psychiatric office or social services; we are a highly-ranked university, and our job is to be a highly-ranked university for students who can actually get through."

What's going to happen in this meeting is that they're going to set some marks for you to hit by certain dates and to certain standards to show that yes, you can do this. The marks will be reasonable ones for a university student, even rather lenient, but the odds that you will be able to hit them will be quite low. You will be provided, grimly, with certain assistance which they expect will make no difference, and will resign themselves to waiting for the inevitable. You will take this all very seriously and apply yourself to the point of psychiatric collapse. When you miss the marks, or wind up in serious trouble, there will be another meeting you'll not be invited to attend, and out you'll go.

I have seen this happen before. It's deeply urgent to the student but the student misses the point of why the program or university exists. It's excruciating all around, and I've even planned to stay home on boom-lowering day, because in this country enraged students sometimes turn up with guns.

I would really suggest looking into other schools/programs that can accommodate you better. You've got a long way to go at UCL, and unless your condition changes radically, it's going to be a fight every step of the way. Has your autism worker said anything about this?



EmeraldGreen
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 31 May 2013
Age: 51
Gender: Female
Posts: 251
Location: On a flight of fancy

26 Jul 2014, 4:42 pm

Alyosha wrote:
ucl are kind of actively discriminatory in their practises, they told a partiality sighted friend of mine at her interview that they don't accommodate disabled students. Just categorically don't. Sue them maybe


I would say, do whatever you have to do to get your degree - not only because you seem to enjoy your studies but because later this is a great degree to build a career on, and specialize in. You could do anything from running clinical trials to selling pharmaceuticals to copyediting with a degree like that! You seem very capable. I would try to put up a big fight! This is an important moment to take action and try to assure your future by staying in school. They need to accommodate you.


_________________
*Have Aspergers but undiagnosed
"Seems I'm not alone at being alone"
-The Police
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbXWrmQW-OE


em_tsuj
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Mar 2011
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,786

26 Jul 2014, 5:20 pm

Talk to your autism support worker. Also, listen to what tarantella has to say.



animalcrackers
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Feb 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,228
Location: Somewhere

26 Jul 2014, 6:19 pm

tarantella64 wrote:
Is there a reason why it must be UCL? Because really they're not set up for this degree of accommodation and support, it's not what they're for. That prof who laughed was mean, but he's right, it's not an online as-you-can-manage-it university.


Online doesn't automatically mean "as you can manage it". I have taken online post-secondary courses whenever they were available in that format, and none of them were self-paced -- if you fell too far behind, you failed. There were due-dates and cut-offs (by "cut-offs" I refer to the point when marks stop being deducted for days late and you just get zero) for assignments, you wrote mid-terms and finals during regular exam weeks, and if you missed mandatory online group discussions, you lost marks.

There are respected universities that offer full degree programs via distance education (some or all exams are written in the presence of an approved proctor at an arranged time and place, any lab-work is done at your school or a partnered academic institution, and practicums are the same as for on-campus classes), and to get into them/stay in them you must meet the same entrance requirements/academic standards as any other student applying to/enrolled in on-campus programs of study.

A person can have problems with the physical environment on campus (e.g. sensory stimuli), with travel to and from campus, or with navigating while on campus (going from class to class, building to building) that are severe enough to destroy their functioning, but have absolutely no problems with the academic demands and workload. Steelmaiden's problems functioning at university could be based entirely on the environment (I don't know, of course -- it's just one possibility that occured to me).

tarantella64 wrote:
If I had to guess, I'd say the translation of their trying to shuck you is "[...] While we appreciate that this is important to you, we are not a psychiatric office or social services; we are a highly-ranked university, and our job is to be a highly-ranked university for students who can actually get through."

What's going to happen in this meeting is that they're going to set some marks for you to hit by certain dates and to certain standards to show that yes, you can do this. The marks will be reasonable ones for a university student, even rather lenient, but the odds that you will be able to hit them will be quite low. You will be provided, grimly, with certain assistance which they expect will make no difference, and will resign themselves to waiting for the inevitable. You will take this all very seriously and apply yourself to the point of psychiatric collapse. When you miss the marks, or wind up in serious trouble, there will be another meeting you'll not be invited to attend, and out you'll go.


How can you know that's what will happen? From where I stand, you appear to be making a lot of assumptions. Realism is a good thing, but so is knowing the limitations of your understanding when it comes to other people's lives and abilities.

Have you asked SteelMaiden about the nature of her overload and meltdowns -- why they happen? Are you sure of the nature of the support she needs, whether or not that support has ever been provided, and whether or not it falls within the normal scope of disability services offered by the university? Do you actually know how much staff time has been spent on supporting SteelMaiden? Do you even know whether or not she's had any academic problems (I didn't see her mention any and she stated that her grades were well above the pass boundary)? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then how could you possibly make the predictions you have made about whether or not she is capable of succeeding in her current program of study?


_________________
"Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." -- Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Love transcends all.


tarantella64
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Feb 2011
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,901

26 Jul 2014, 10:48 pm

Yeah, there are for-real online programs, but that's not what UCL do. (And for the most part, when universities run those programs, they're desperate cash grabs, and the faculty try to keep the plum degrees away from them. I've been asked to teach online courses, it's very obviously a racket most of the time. Not a racket: MIT's OpenCourseWare certs -- the courses are excellent, and MIT's done real public service in sharing them -- but note you're not going to get a "real degree" from MIT that way.) The instructor made the ref to the Open University, which is what I was talking about. Wellmeaning and all but...there's a good Fry & Laurie bit, I'll look it up.

How do I know this is what's going on? I don't, for sure. But there's a limited number of ways this can go down, and, like I said, I've seen it before. And so have the UCL folks, though I don't know that they'll have dealt with autism as the specific problem before. The only one to whom this is likely to be a novelty is SteelMaiden. Sometimes these problems are dealt with by just passing the student and getting him the hell out of the program, and that might be something they'd consider if he were less than a year from taking his degree, but only 1.5 years in -- not likely.

Anyway. If there's a more sanity-preserving way to do it, go to university, I mean, I'd suggest looking into it.



Danimal
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jun 2011
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Posts: 276
Location: West Central Indiana

26 Jul 2014, 11:43 pm

I don't know anything about UK colleges, but isn't there one that offers more online courses? My wife completed a bachelors degree almost completely online. However, I think that some exposure to actual classrooms is beneficial. I obtained my degree at a large, Midwestern university. My school, however, was much smaller. I would add that my wife's degree is from Purdue University School of Technology, not one of those for-profit colleges.
I am impressed, Steel Maiden, that you are attempting college with your many difficulties. You didn't mention medications. Do they help? Some universities here in America accomodate students who have dyslexia and and other learning difficulties. It's possible to sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Does the UK have similiar laws?