By John Broadway / Staff Writer
LBCC students who are hard of hearing have something to rejoice over because the school, as well as every other college in America, is required to have closed captioning available for all auditory learning materials including VHS, DVD, Internet videos and all other learning materials.
Jesus Gonzales, 22, a communications major, is hard of hearing and said he is happy about the mandate. He said “I’m glad that there are strides being made to accommodate students like myself. I don’t like making it widely known that I have trouble hearing, so if all the videos have captions, that not only helps me with my learning, but it saves me the embarrassment of letting the whole class know that I have a slight disability.”
The mandate has been in effect since 2001 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. The law requires that all schools must accommodate students who have any type of disability that may hinder their learning, leading to every college using a disabled students services program.
Eric Borin, director of categorical and special programs, said transcription and captioning of a video would cost between $2-3 per minute. Transcribing a one hour instructional video with closed captioning would cost between $120-180.
Borin said the instructors do have the option to “get ahead of the curve and pay for the captioning and transcription” but having the teachers pay for it is definitely not the popular decision.
Francisco Orozco, 22, a communications major, said, “This law has been in place for 12 years, so regardless of the costs the city of Long Beach needs to find a way to get this done because the college owes it to the students with disabilities. “The college should pay for it because it’s their responsibility to make sure students’ needs are being met,” said Lynne Misajon, department head of Communication Studies and Sign Language. She believes the financial responsibility should be left up to the college.
Some videos are available now that are captioned, but not all of them. Borin said, “LBCC teachers are not facing any penalties if they do not comply with the mandate.” So once the decision is made as to who the financial responsibility is left up to, then more progress can be made.