Hamilton’s Mohawk College faces backlash for suspension of Accessible Media Production program

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Published June 8, 2022 at 2:45 pm

Hamilton's Mohawk College faces backlash for suspension of Accessible Media Production program
Hamilton's Mohawk College made the decision to suspend its Accessible Media Production program and it's being called foolish, troubling, and surprising.

Due to low enrollment numbers, Hamilton’s Mohawk College made the decision to suspend its Accessible Media Production (AMP) program for Fall 2022. The decision was a business one that has been met with backlash from the accessible media community and advocates, who are calling the decision foolish, troubling, and surprising.

Through the college’s official Twitter account, Mohawk says “It was a very difficult decision as we strongly believe in the concept of this program. We plan to continue to work with our Program Advisory Committee and Mohawk College’s specialists to help reassess and plan our path forward. Thank you for your continued support.”


Jennifer Jahnke is the AMP coordinator at Mohawk College and says she was surprised by the decision to suspend the program. She claims that she was never consulted.

 

The hashtag #SaveAMPMohawk has been trending in Hamilton.

Accessibility advocates have pointed to the timing of Mohawk’s decision, considering legislation around accessibility has been strengthened at both the federal and provincial levels, signalling an even greater need for accessible media professionals.

Angie Rajani, a certified professional in accessibility core competencies, shared an open letter sent to Mohawk College on behalf of the accessibility community.

“…the need for highly skilled and qualified professionals in digital accessibility has never been more desperately needed in Ontario and Canada. To even propose to put this valued program on hold for one year will be detrimental to meeting this growing need and demand for trained professionals in this specialized area, and more importantly, detrimental to training accessibility professionals with lived experience of disability,” the letter continues.

“Indeed, as provincial and federal legislation continues to strengthen in Ontario and in Canada, Mohawk College is positioned to be currently the only program in Canada that offers this level of immersive, integrated, and relevant digital accessibility training to current and emerging accessibility professionals. Within the next 1-3 years, the need for trained digital accessibility professionals will increase immeasurably, and as such, we implore Mohawk College to consider how detrimentally impactful this decision will be on the accessibility industry.”

 

Mohawk’s AMP was the first graduate program in Ontario to focus on accessible media production.

The eight-month program provided courses in advocacy and legislation, as well as intensive training in producing accessible content, including closed and open captioning, described and integrated described video, accessible documents taking into consideration inclusive writing and communication, and accessible social media and websites.

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