February 18, 2020

The choice to recognize students graduating with a certificate through OIS came from the university’s interpretation of Colorado Senate Bill 16-196, which directed universities to create programs for students with intellectual disabilities.

Tom Christensen, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, is confident that students who earn a certificate through the Office of Inclusive Services (OIS) will be recognized at the spring 2020 commencement.

“We are still working out the logistical details, but I expect that to be completed successfully in the next few weeks,” said Christensen via email.

The choice to recognize students graduating with a certificate through OIS came from the university’s interpretation of Colorado Senate Bill 16-196, which directed universities to create programs for students with intellectual disabilities.

“This was based on our interpretation of the intent of Senate Bill 16-196. We also noted that a 50-credit certificate represents a considerable effort compared to most of our other certificates,” said Christensen.

The Colorado Senate Bill 16-196 is the “Inclusive Higher Education Act,” which allows people with disabilities to be included in college education in Colorado, according to the bill.

According to Christensen, the original idea of having the certificate earning students recognized at graduation came from OIS.

“We had never made a decision to not let them walk, but had concerns given that the primary purpose of commencement is the conferral of degrees,” said Christensen.

“As we looked more closely at the commencement ceremony and tried to understand the intent of Senate Bill 16-196, we felt that it was appropriate to try to find a way to recognize these students.”