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Helsinki Design School faces discrimination charges

Deaf design student hopeful Oskari Salomaa did not get to study graphic design in 2014, as the school declined his right to enrol based on a lack of resources to accommodate his disability.

Oskari Salomaa
Oskari Salomaa, whose deafness could not be accommodated by the design school in 2014. Image: Yle

The Helsinki District Prosecutor has pressed charges against the Helsinki Design School over their decision to not let Oskari Salomaa, who is deaf, enrol in studies.

Salomaa was accepted into the institution as a student of graphic design in 2014. His year-long studies, which carry a fee, were supposed to begin in autumn a year ago.

The Helsinki Design School based its decision to withdraw Salomaa's right to study on insufficient resources. The school discovered that Salomaa is deaf and in need of an interpreter just as the semester was beginning, after his interpreter contacted the school.

"The school contacted me and asked me whether I use an interpreter," Salomaa said in 2014. "I said yes, I need one at lectures and the school doesn't need to do anything except maybe send my interpreter class materials in advance. They replied by saying they had revoked my study right. It's unbelievable."

The school did not alter its decision despite several attempts from Salomaa's lawyer to let him take his place at the school.

The handling date of the discrimination case has not yet been set.

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