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New Testing Center and Offices ‘Day and Night’ for SAEO

Last updatedMay 1, 2018 by Logan Bogert, Division of Student Affairs in General Updates

Student-focused work stations, a series of study spaces and a reduced-distraction testing center are just a few major differences in the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity office.

During winter break, the SAEO office moved from a smaller office on the main level of the University Student Commons to a suite in the basement.

“The only similarity is that our main offices remain separate from actual testing spaces. Other than that, night and day,” said Ian Kunkes, director of SAEO.

In addition to the new main offices, the new space includes:

  • Student-focused work stations with free accessible technology
  • A series of couches
  • A series of study spaces
  • A new reduced-distraction testing center conveniently located two doors down
  • Eight main offices for staff

Previously, the SAEO testing center was located across campus in the basement of Hibbs Hall. The new testing center is two doors down from the main office suite and has a higher capacity — even featuring five private testing rooms when students need it.

“For those of us who aren’t able to study successfully at the library, SAEO is a perfect spot to get homework done,” an undeclared sophomore who has been using SAEO for more than a year said. “Before, the old SAEO office was simply just an office. The new SAEO space is somewhere that students can feel comfortable going to for studying and hanging out.”

A space for students to feel comfortable is what Kunkes says is SAEO’s goal.

“Our goal with the new SAEO office was to create a center specifically designed to meet the varying needs of VCU students with disabilities. It is a space designed for students to study, do work and decompress in a way which they may not be able to do elsewhere on campus. It is also quickly becoming a location where like-minded students have started coming to socialize, which has been unexpected but really exciting,” Kunkes said.

SAEO, formerly Disability Support Services, works with students on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate academic adjustments such as program and exam modifications, classroom accommodations and auxiliary aids.

“A lot of people think that our office is just for people with what we call ‘visible disabilities’. We actually will work with any student who has any kind of learning disability, mental health impairment, psychological concern, medical health issue — anything that could affect how a student interacts with and participates at the university,” Kunkes said.

If you or someone you know could benefit from these services, contact the SAEO office at 804-828-2253 or visit their new office in suite 018 of the University Student Commons.

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