On-Campus Disability Services are a CLASS Act

Hayden Audette, sports editor

Augsburg aims to help students reach their full potential. From help with finding food to mental health, there are many on-campus organizations and resources available to students. Even barriers that can stand in the way of a college education are broken down by one such resource; the Franklin Groves Center for Learning and Accessible Student Services (CLASS), which I have worked with personally. 

CLASS  is dedicated to “[leading] the Augsburg community in advancing disability access and equity,” according to their mission statement. The main way they accomplish this is through helping students with physical and mental disabilities to receive the accommodations that they need to participate in their classes and day to day lives as college students. These accommodations include extra time on tests, electronic textbooks and dictation software to assist with writing assignments, just to name a few. They also can provide accommodations in tandem with Residence Life, like giving students priority for single dorms. 

The office opened in the 1980s and in its infancy only served a total of three students. It’s officially named after Franklin Groves Jr., an Augsburg alum and Vice President of the Groves Foundation which has assisted people with physical and mental disabilities in the Twin Cities since 1955. As an alumnus, Groves donated to help boost disability services at Augsburg. His donations have allowed the number of students CLASS has served to grow significantly in the four decades since its inception, also calling for its staff to expand to meet the needs of the students. Their staff includes a mixture of faculty and student workers, with some of the student workers even receiving accommodations from the CLASS office themselves. 

As a physically disabled student myself, I have received accommodations from the CLASS program since the first day I started at Augsburg . A major factor in my college decision was how strong the disability services were here, because I knew that I would be well supported by the CLASS office. Throughout my education prior to coming to Augsburg, I occasionally had to deal with teachers and faculty not quite understanding what exactly I needed to succeed in the classroom. This was incredibly frustrating. I knew that I was a good student, but sometimes I wasn’t able to get the extra help that I needed to actually show how successful I could be in the classroom. I have almost never felt that way at Augsburg, because the CLASS Office has already had decades of experience helping students with disabilities get the help they needed. When students are able to have access to a program that is fully dedicated to making sure that they can reach their highest potential, that makes all the difference in the world. 

The CLASS office can be found in the Gage Center for Student Success in the Lindell Library. If you need a resource to break down the barriers in the way of your education, make sure to pay them a visit because they are your “Advocates for access, partners in success.”