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UCCS student with down syndrome and others with intellectual disabilities will get to walk at graduation

 Nick Harmon is a student at UCCS with down syndrome who was calling for the university to allow students with intellectual disabilities who earn certificates to walk with students who earn degrees at commencement ceremonies.  Photo taken by KKTV 4/26/19
Nick Harmon is a student at UCCS with down syndrome who was calling for the university to allow students with intellectual disabilities who earn certificates to walk with students who earn degrees at commencement ceremonies. Photo taken by KKTV 4/26/19 (KKTV)
Published: Apr. 26, 2019 at 10:41 PM MDT
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Back in April, 11 News reporter Spencer Wilson met with a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student who had one simple goal, to get the chance to walk at graduation with the rest of the student body.

Nick Harmon is expected to get his chance at the upcoming graduation ceremony! Harmon has down syndrome, and back in April of 2019 he was calling for the university to allow students with intellectual disabilities who earn certificates to walk with students who earn degrees at commencement ceremonies.

A petition garnered more than 6,000 signatures from people across the community standing behind Harmon's request. Back in April, school officials said the university system's graduation policy - bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree earners are permitted to walk at commencement, but not those in certificate or endorsement programs - is not discriminatory because it applies to all students.

The petitioners are in a four-year pilot Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program and argued they should have the same privilege as other students because they pay the same tuition and fees and their program requires 55 credit hours.

Julie Harmon, the Inclusion Coordinator for UCCS and Nick's mom, sent 11 News the following statement on Friday:

"Nick ended up presenting a resolution to the UCCS Student Government Association asking then to affirm their position of allowing students enrolled through the Office of Inclusive Services the opportunity to walk at graduation and recognizing that students enrolled through the Office of Inclusive Services are a vital part of the campus community, who deserve to be honored for the completion of their certificate at graduation. Student Government unanimously supported the resolution. It has taken some time but we are all very pleased with the outcome.

Nick and his fellow students are expected to get the chance to walk across the stage for the upcoming Spring graduation!

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