DISABILITY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

1997-1998 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

Dr. H. Thorne Compton, Dept. of Theater, Speech and Dance

Bobby Gist, Equal Opportunity Programs

James Kirk, Business and Finance

Gretchen Koehler-Shepley, Housing Services

Karen Pettus, Disability Services

Joey Thomas, Student Representative

Sally Young, Legal Department

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES

The Disability Affairs Committee met three times during the 1997-1998 academic year. The following issues were addressed by the committee: 1) the purchase of a new adapted van; 2) building accessibility; and 3) problems with classroom accommodations.

Because the University provides an on-campus shuttle system which is not fully accessible to persons with disabilities, we are required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide a comparable service that is accessible. The van that we were using was 17 years old and had major mechanical and safety problems. In addition, because it could accommodate no more than three persons in wheelchairs and was not equipped to transport persons not in wheelchairs, it no longer met the needs of the population we serve. The Committee discussed several options for obtaining funding for replacing the van such as looking for grant money, sharing a van with the Transitional Living Project sponsored by the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, and using leftover money from several budget areas. The first two options did not work out. However, Educational Support Services and Transportation Services were able to pool money from their budgets and purchase a new adapted vehicle which was delivered in June, 1998. This new bus will accommodate 14 seated passengers, 4 wheelchair users, or a combination or seated passengers and wheelchair users.

Building accessibility continued to be an area of concern for the Disability Affairs Committee. Although USC is one of the most accessible universities in the Southeast, we still have many buildings that are not truly accessible. In addition, the offices of Educational Support Services were not fully accessible to students with mobility impairments. As a result of a survey of each building conducted by Educational Support Services, the Committee recommended that Facilities Management work with Educational Support Services to make needed changes to improve building accessibility. Educational Support Services will rank the buildings based on needed improvements and student usage and Facilities Management will address each need in order of importance and costs. The problems with accessibility to the offices of Educational Support Services in LeConte were addressed and remedied during the spring 1998 semester.

Because of recent problems with some faculty members questioning the necessity of providing "reasonable accommodations" for students with disabilities, the Committee recommended that Bobby Gist, Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs, and representatives from Educational Support Services do presentations similar to those on sexual harassment. These presentations would be done for the Deans= Council, the Assistant and Associate Deans Committee, department chairs, and others as requested or needed. Bobby Gist and Deborah Haynes will work on these presentations.

For the 1998-1999 academic year, the Disability Affairs Committee will continue to focus on campus-wide accessibility of buildings and on ways to make the entire University community aware of our responsibilities for providing "reasonable accommodations" for students with disabilities. Also, the Committe will look at the issue of what types of documentation are needed for students with learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorder.

 


This page updated 25 August 1998 by the Office of the Faculty Senate,
and copyright 1998, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/faculty/senate/98/annual/98.disabilities.html