The Council meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 12:00 noon in Room 2001 of the LSA Building.

Who we are


The Council for Disability Concerns (CFDC) meets monthly to address disability issues affecting the University of Michigan and also members of the community. Members represent a broad cross-section of the University and surrounding area. The Council is organized in committees reflecting the concerns and interests of its members including: Construction Advisory Committee, Investing in Ability Week (IAW) Speakers Committee, and the Neubacher Award Committee.



The Council for Disability Concerns was formed in 1983 at the conclusion of the University of Michigan’s observance of the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYTD), which was celebrated in 1982. The Council was appointed by then President Harold Shapiro to carry on the work initiated during the IYDP and to act in an advisory capacity regarding University programs and policies which affect people with disabilities.



The CFDC sponsors two major events during the academic year: Investing in Ability Week (IAW) and the James T. Neubacher Award. IAW has grown to encompass a wide range of disability-related activities and awareness building events during the month of October. The James T. Neubacher Award is presented to an individual at the U of M making a significant contribution to disability rights. It is given in honor of Jim Neubacher, an alumnus of the University who was a columnist for The Detroit Free Press and an advocate for equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities.

See the tentative IAW schedule on this site for this year’s Investing in Ability Week held in October.



As we conclude our second decade, we look to our revised Mission Statement as a guide:

  • Promote the development of a physical and social environment that provides full access of programs, services, and facilities to every person in the University community (students, faculty, staff, guests).
  • Advance the University’s commitment to the quality of experience for all persons, including those with disabilities.
  • Act in an advisory capacity to recommend University programs and policies that assure full opportunity and access to qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • Advocate for the concerns of members of the University community who have disabilities.
  • Educate the University community by increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to all issues related to individuals who have disabilities.

Strategic Plan


The CFDC recently developed its first strategic plan, which contains the following key objectives:

  • Increase Awareness and Education, by:
    • Increasing general awareness about disability, and accessibility through education of various populations
    • Increasing specific information about disability among leadership, including University leadership and University Facilities leadership
    • Substantiating issues related to disability and accessibility
    • Mobilizing Resources
  • Promote Consistent University Disability Policy Interpretation, by increasing consistency in baseline interpretation of University policies related to non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation of faculty and staff with disabilities

View the plan »


Congratulations to Eric Ellsworth Hipple,
2015 James T. Neubacher Award Recipient


Eric Ellsworth Hipple, a former Detroit Lion football quarterback, has devoted his time and his life to addressing the stigma of mental illness. He personifies the fact that even a powerful athlete can be affected by depression, falling prey to this disability and then fighting back and conquering it. He had been at the top of his career and then, after his young son committed suicide, had fallen to the bottom; he has lived with emotional despair and physical tragedy.

Currently, in his position as Outreach Coordinator in the U-M Depression Center, Eric speaks to patients, community members, high school students, and numerous others in an ongoing attempt to convince and inspire them that life is worth living in the vulnerable period “After the Impact,” as his U-M program is called.

Hipple's book, Real Men Do Cry, which discusses Hipple's playing career with the Lions, his bouts with depression and details the warning signs portending teens who have planned suicide, was published in 2009. Eric once disarmed a man wielding a knife at a 2005 party in Michigan, a prompt action that may have saved several lives as a result, according to police.

Although outcomes from Eric’s outreach efforts in the field of mental health are undoubtedly difficult if not impossible to quantify, it is also probable that he has saved numerous lives through his numerous interactions and presentations about suicide and depression to individuals.

Recently, Eric has spent time off campus visiting military installations and doing his presentations, always in memory of his deceased son, in a determined effort to prevent veterans from committing suicide.