Cal-Berkeley’s Free Online Courses Go Offline

by John McClaughry 

The March 20 Weekly Standard had a notable article  from Andrew Ferguson. It’s about the clash of politically correct University of California-Berkeley with the equally politically correct disability rights movement.

Since 2012 Cal has offered, for free, some forty thousand hours of quality video and audio college instruction recordings.

A deaf art teacher in Washington DC named Stacy Nowak went online to enjoy a Cal course called “Journalism for Social Change”. But she wasn’t pleased with the closed captioning on the course’s video. So she ran to the National Association of the Deaf, which took her complaint to the Obama Justice Department, which was absolutely delighted to go to bat for her under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The Chief of Justice’s Disability Rights section issued a letter to Berkeley informing it that its inadequate captioning was an act of discrimination against the deaf, the school would have to pay compensatory damages to aggrieved individuals for injuries caused by the school’s failure to comply with the ADA, and if the school’s corrective actions were not satisfactory to the Department of Justice, the Attorney General may institute a lawsuit.

The school had its video department estimate the cost of changing the closed captioning on all of its offerings, and it came to around a million bucks. So now all of those high quality free college courses are gone – for good. No more discrimination!

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim Bulmer April 22, 2017 at 12:42 am

They just threw the baby with the bath water. Way to go!!!!


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