On Thursday, the Disability Research Center held an open forum meeting, with speaker Randall Ward, who is a candidate for the director of Disability Resource Center position. They discussed the different legal decisions and new legislation that is impacting universities around the country, including Eastern Michigan University.
These new approaches and legislation changes may affect daily workings at EMU.
“Nine out of 10 students on EMU’s campus do not even know where the DRC is located,” said Renee Walton, Student Wellness Advisory Board co-chair and Disability Resource Center representative.
“Three out of 5 students on campus have some form of disability.”
At EMU, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) is located on the second level of the Student Center. Walton’s statistic emphasizes the importance of awareness on campus being raised, and the essentiality of campuses being well-equipped. One point discussed was the accessibility of class resources. These resources need to include converting material for different needs and shortening the wait time, which was addressed from Berkeley’s model.
Ward, who is from Northern University, said the enjoyment of sports activities and events should be accessible to all people. Ward said that they make play-by-plays available to the deaf through smartphones and media access. The possible implementation of adaptive recreational and athletics programs was also mentioned. This could increase the students with disabilities’ resources to participate.
Offering courses in disability studies would help to spread awareness and understanding. This would also give support to the DRC in their mission to provide beneficial, meaningful access and full participation to those they help.
The DRC works with the various needs of individual students. The passion and importance they feel in their work was strongly communicated to the individuals listening attentively to the possible candidate.
With a large presence on EMU’s campus and campuses across the U.S., these meetings are essential in deciding who works with, and is a leader for, an important aspect of the college campus community. A final decision on who will receive the position was not made by the end of the meeting.
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