Dyslexic student demands change within university


Mia Hennen

Luke Wagle, a criminal justice and political science student, speaks to SGA’s Senate about the roadblocks he has faced as a dyslexic person on March 1.

Over the course of his life, Luke Wagle has had a rocky experience with education. As a dyslexic student, Wagle has encountered roadblocks and discrimination, even before his formal diagnosis.

“I vividly recall a time in fourth grade, and late at night, I cried and screamed and begged my parents to tell me what was wrong with me,” Wagle said. “Why I couldn’t do all the things that my friends could.”

The summer following his fourth-grade year, Wagle finally received a diagnosis.

“My family and I thought we had figured it out,” he said. “I thought that things were going to be easier now that I had my diagnosis.”

In the next few years, though, Wagle switched between different schools, where each presented its own challenges. To finish his high school education, Wagle transferred to Circle High School.

“I was scared,” Wagle said. “I had developed an extremely tumultuous relationship with the concept of education.”

But Wagle’s experience at Circle High pleasantly surprised him. There, his Individualized Education Program (IEP) was granted “no questions asked,” which included a foreign language exemption. 

At Wichita State, students in the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to fulfill a foreign language requirement, which can be completed in high school or college. Wagle, a political science and criminal justice student, said that, when he came to WSU, he was told that receiving a foreign language exemption would be “easy.”

“I was told that foreign language waivers were granted all the time, and nobody ever had any issue with them,” Wagle said.

Despite reassurance from advisors, Wagle’s foreign language exemption was denied. 

“I submitted my petition to the board made up of people who have never met me,” Wagle said. “I only had one page to write about why I needed an exemption that is my right under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).”

At Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, Wagle came before the body to demand a “serious change.”

Following Wagle’s speech, a few association members, like Student Body President John Kirk, spoke with him.

“I’ve already contacted the student advocate because that is an academic issue,” Kirk said. “That’s what our advocates are for.”

Kirk said that the student advocate will work with Wagle to resolve his personal issue, but the president would work with the Senate to solve the policy issue.

If the policy comes to fruition from the Student Senate, it would then go to the Staff and Faculty Senate, to make sure the change is implemented across the board.

“Whether it requires communication or whether it files an actual bill,” Kirk said. “We will do something about that.”