DISABILITY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

1996 - 1997 ANNUAL REPORT

COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Deborah C. Haynes, Chair, Educational Support Services
Leslie Adkins, Transitional Living Project
Jeff Cargile, Human Resources
Dr. Robert Chubon, School of Medicine
Barbara Clark, Human Resources
Donna Collins, Facilities Management
Bobby Gist, Equal Opportunity Programs
James Kirk, Business and Finance
Karen Pettus, Disability Services
Dr. Francisco Sy, College of Public Health
Linda Ware, Housing and Residential Services
Sally Young, Legal Department

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES

The Disability Affairs Committee met four times during the 1996-1997 academic year. The following issues were addressed by the committee: 1) problems with the adapted van; 2) building accessibility; 3) handicap parking decals; and 4) provision of services such as sign language interpreters at non-student related functions such as conferences and workshops.

The adapted van is operated for students with mobility as a parallel service to the University Shuttle system. Transportation Services provides and maintains the van while Disability Services schedules the rides and oversees the van drivers. The van is sixteen years old and breaks down often, resulting in the lack of adapted transportation for students with mobility impairments. The Committee discussed several options for obtaining funding for replacing the van such as looking for federal grant money, using leftover money from several budget areas, and sharing a van with the Transitional Living Program sponsored by the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. The sharing of a vehicle will be pursued as an alternative to purchasing a new van.

Another area of concern is building accessibility. Although USC is one of the most accessible universities in the Southeast, we still have many buildings that are not truly accessible. In addition, since the last accessibility study done in 1992, we have enrolled students with more limiting disabilities which makes buildings that were once accessible to our students with disabilities no longer accessible. Also, USC has not followed through on commitments that were made as a result of the Office of Civil Rights site visit in 1992. This could lead to future OCR visits or investigations. The Committee asked the Office of Disability Services to survey each building and have a report ready for the first meeting in Fall 1997.

The availability of handicap parking spaces is also a concern. Although USC has designated more spaces than required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, students, faculty, and staff with disabilities complain about not being able to find a parking space. Bill Baker, Director of Parking and Vehicle Registration Services, brought a proposal to require a state-issued handicap parking sticker as documentation before issuing a USC handicap decal. The Committee endorsed his proposal and recommended that he take it to the Parking Committee.

More people with disabilities who are not students at USC are participating in conferences and workshops sponsored by various USC departments and organizations. This raises the question of who is responsible for paying for the "reasonable accommodations" for these participants. Educational Support Services has a budget to pay for "reasonable accommodations" such as readers, notetakers, and sign language interpreters for students with disabilities who are enrolled in classes at USC-Columbia and at academic-related functions such as graduation exercises. However, this budget is not large enough to provide services at non-student or non-academic related functions. The Committee asked Debbie Haynes, Director of Educational Support Services, and Karen Pettus, Director of Disability Services, to develop a policy for the provision of services at non-student related events that can be carried forward through the appropriate channels to become a part of the University's policies and procedures.

For the 1997 - 1998 academic year, the Disability Affairs Committee will focus on campus-wide accessibility of buildings and make recommendations to the appropriate departments for making each building accessible for all students with disabilities.

Respectfully Submitted,
Deborah C. Haynes, Chair
Disability Affairs Committee


This page updated 21 September 1997 by the Office of the Faculty Senate,
and copyright 1997, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/faculty/senate/97/annual/disabilities.html