February 15, 2017 : OUS brings accessibility to table at 2nd Annual MLK luncheon for faculty, staff
Ohio University Southern (OUS) faculty and staff participated in the 2nd Annual MLK luncheon Jan. 20. The focus this year was about creating a culture of inclusion for students with disabilities. Participants were asked to explore the issues that our disabled students face and how we can better assist them.
Southern Campus Accessibility Coordinator Teresa McKenzie explained to attendees that, “Disability rights are civil rights issues.”
Assistant Dean for Student Accessibility Dr. Carey Busch said that higher education has a role in shaping outcomes for people with disabilities, and although we have made some progress there is still work to be done.
Busch said, “There is still an 8 percent gap in obtaining post-secondary education between students with disabilities and those without. This is compared with the two percent gap between the same groups as it applies to high school graduation rates.”
She also explained that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a key piece of legislation pertaining to education. It states that an entity that receives federal funding must assure that all goods, programs and services are accessible to those with disabilities.
Our local Student Accessibility Services office is a central location for services, accommodations and to get answers to questions according to McKenzie. “Our office works to make sure that all of our university services are accessible to all of our student population,” she said. “Our office also serves as a liaison for faculty and staff.”
Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion Robert Pleasant said that this year’s luncheon was an opportunity. “Each year we choose a topic to focus for the MLK Luncheon and this year I thought it was important to highlight the area of accessibility, he said. “It was our goal to expand the term ‘diversity’, and to find ways for faculty and staff to have an open dialogue about the needs of students with disabilities and our role in creating a more inclusive environment for all students.”
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