DISABILITY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1999 2000 ANNUAL REPORT

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Deborah C. Haynes, Chair, Educational Support Services
Dr. Roger Amidon, School of Public Health
Alexander Bryant, Student Representative
Jeff Cargile, Human Resources
Barbara Clark, Human Resources
Donna Collins, Facilities Management
Dr. Laurie Ford, Psychology Department
Bobby Gist, Equal Opportunity Programs
Deborah Graham, Transitional Living Project
James E. Kirk, Business and Finance
Gretchen Koehler, Housing Services
Karen Pettus, Disability Services
Greg Schutz, Veterans Affairs
Daphne Sipes, Legal Department
Joey Thomas, Student Representative

COMMITTEEE ACTIVITIES

The Disability Affairs Committee met two times during the 1999 2000 academic year. The following issues were addressed by the committee: 1) identification of students with disabilities; 2) problems with classroom adaptations; 3) problems with handicapped parking at specific buildings; 4) numbers of students with disabilities receiving services at USC compared to our aspirational AAU peer institutions; and 5) protocol for dealing with emergencies involving faculty, staff, students or visitors with disabilities.

Because the Office of Civil Rights has ruled that applications for admission cannot include questions about disabilities, the USC Undergraduate Admissions Office has taken the question asking students to "voluntarily" indicate if they have a disability and may request services. Thus, the Office of Disability Services has no way of identifying accepted students with disabilities who may need accommodations. Several suggestions, including putting information in packets for every student who attends an orientation session and using public service announcements, were offered. The Office of Disability Services is also designing a return card describing possible services that will be included in the packet of information sent to accepted undergraduate students.

The Office of Disability Services is getting more requests from students with disabilities who are unable to use the desks and chairs in the rooms and need tables brought in. The question as to who is responsible, especially financially, for providing these tables was discussed. Some committee members felt that the department using the classroom would be responsible. However, the representative from Facilities Management indicated that anything involving classroom space is a "University responsibility."

Because of changes in parking at Williams Brice Stadium, the Office of Disability Services has received several complaints from people with disabilities who are not able to use the shuttle service to get to the stadium. The Gamecock Club used golf carts to carry club members from their parking spaces in the Fairgrounds to the stadium. Because these carts were not handicapped accessible, persons in wheelchairs were not able to use them. Parking problems at the Koger Center were also discussed. Bobby Gist from the Office of Equal Opportunity agreed to talk with Mike McGee about stadium parking.

Since the 1991 1992 academic year the number of students with documented disabilities on file with the Office of Disability Services and the Learning Disability Program has tripled while the staff in these areas has remained constant. Research studies indicate that the increase in students with disabilities attending post secondary institutions will continue because of an increase in the numbers of students with disabilities coming through the K-12 system. Currently, there are 2.5 full-time staff members (one director, on coordinator, and one-half of another director) who facilitate services for students with disabilities, or a ratio of 181 students to 1 staff member. When comparing these numbers to our AAU aspirational peers (see attached chart*), the USC Office of Disability Services is severely understaffed. As the number of students with disabilities increases, the Office of Disability Services will need an increase in staff to keep up with the growing demand for services.

Because there were several emergency medical situations involving persons with disabilities on campus during the spring semester, the Committee discussed the University policy regarding the reporting of such situations. A copy of the policy and procedures is attached* to this report.

 

*(These items are not available via the web version of this report, but printed copies have been sent to senators, deans, and department chairs.)