Hi Dr. Tom,
Hope you are feeling better. I understand that a throat virus knocked you down a bit.
I am pursuing the scheduling problem I encountered with Saturday classes (Saturday is my Sabbath). The paper I wrote for my Ethics class dealt with this and you made several comments to which I will respond briefly. I will also send the paper and comments on to Dr. Hiebert and the Human Resources department for review. I am hoping for a quick reply so that we can see if this problem can be easily resolved.
I did not notice that the weekend practicum seminars require me to attend four days of Saturday classes[UoC1] .
Response: I did not realize that there were any weekends, period. The scheduling is not apparent unless you examine each and every component. There was no conflict this first year. It is not a problem until well into the 2nd year. The three-week period this summer presented no weekend conflict. However, the very small future components could prevent me from finishing this course.
How can I meet the student’s needs while at the same time honor the program that Campus Alberta has set up[UoC2] ?
Response: Yes, that is probably true. I would not have become involved had I known about the conflict. However, if the conflict can be easily resolved then there should still be no great problem. There is some responsibility on the educational institution to accommodate as far as possible, regardless. This is true especially in a counselling class that teaches how to recognize and integrate diversity. The code of ethics, which we studied last semester, stresses over and over the responsibility of this profession to do just that.
Is there a way for the university to help this student meet her requirements for this program and at the same time allow her to maintain her religious practices?[UoC3]
Response: Yes, however the longest period away from home (3-weeks) had no weekend conflict whatsoever. Students were able to attend campus while still maintaining jobs at home. Since this is a distance-learning program, other options may be available even in this course.
The company said that they could not be accommodated but the court said that they had to be accommodated. [UoC4]
Final thought: As a hypothetical counsellor, I followed the code of ethics as I was instructed to do. I am most interested to see what happens when a hypothetical situation becomes reality. I believe this is the dilemma we face.