CfDC Minutes — January 6, 2010

Attending: Jack Bernard, Chair; Doug White, Vice Chair; Scott Williams; Ryan Christman; Eleanor Chang; LuAnne Bullington; Carolyn Grawi; Nyshourn Price Reed; Carole Dubritsky; Betsy Erwin; Paul Guttman; Alexandra Luck (Welcome, Alexandra!); Phil Larson; Stuart Segal; Diane Achatz; Jim Knox, Tom Bayer; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (minutes).

The meeting was called to order and introductions were made around the table. Participants at the meeting gave the title of a book they had read recently. Some examples are: “Pillars of the Earth,” “ Altars in the World,” “1001 Arabian Nights,” “ Olive Kittredge,” “Ebola,” “Somebodies and Nobodies: a Study of Rankism,” “It Takes a Village” (the 10th Anniversary Printing), It’s Not About the Tapas,” “Nazi Doctors,” “Blood Memory,” “O’Henry Collections,” “Animals in Translation,” “The Legend of Bagger’s Pants,” “Wind, Sand and Stars,” “Storms of My Grandchildren,” “What Is the What,” “Cat’s Cradle,” etc.

Jack thanked Scott for the wonderful work he has done on the Council website (www.hr.umich.edu/ability), calling it an example of website accessibility that we can proudly show to others at UM and elsewhere.

Jack suggested that we distribute the Neubacher nomination forms earlier so that UM students can be more involved with supplying nominees, and it was suggested that we post in student newspaper right after spring brerak.

Anna invited other Council members to join the Investing in Ability Subcommittee that meets every other Wednesday at 11:30 at the North Ingalls Building Conference Room (please write schnitzr@umich.edu if you are interested in being involved in planning for our October events).

Anna reported that she and Doug had met to discuss maintaining records (METRICS) for justifying the funding that we have generously been given for a 3-year period. It was suggested that we include history of the Council in our report to Laurita, donations of time and rooms (e.g., Rackham waives the room fee for us). We would have to check with the Development Office for any attempt to get monetary funds from outside sources.

Nyshourn reported that the School of Social Work will have no library stacks but more computing space. Sue Wortman will be serving as librarian two days per week. Mike Spencer, Associate Dean is in charge, and the area will be redesigned. The ergopod was discussed, which Nyshourn wants to keep, and the fact emerged that ergopods sometimes are not maintained in working order (roving sites are supposed to be in charge). There is now an extra pod in the School of Public Health, since that library has merged into Taubman Medical Library.

Jack indicated that the University is working on a statement to address its a general concern about adopting electronic book reading technology that is inaccessible to persons who have disabilities. He also reported that the Amazon Kindle affair now seems to be settled with authors and publishers (through some pressure exerted by the National Federation for the Blind); most books will have text to speech and the only inaccessible (without digitization to voice transfer possibility) Kindle books will be those that are sold along with a CD audio component (and only about 5% of books sold have an audio version)—although visually impaired readers really prefer reading at their own pace for education rather than entertainment here (and their pace is usually quite speedy—300words/minute:). The next version of Kindle will have accessible keys, according to Jim, which is a step forward.

Goals:

We left off with our Goals discussion deciding whether to focus narrowly or broadly. We continued our discussion mentioning again that we need more members of the Council to take part in activities, listing the benefits of collaboration and the fact that we do not have to share the same objectives but can use the synergy of the Council to do our own part. Problems were discussed (example of newspapers or snow in front of doors impeding wheelchair users). Snow needs to be cleared in a wider area for wheelchair users. LuAnne mentioned that in downtown Biz Zone the snow will be entirely removed rather than just plowed to another place. She also described the low lighting in the South University area and the fact that the City wants the UM to pay for part of the lighting, as a pilot program trial. Carolyn mentioned that at EMU there were 3 groups formed chaired by Adam Meyer—as a result of their attending the last Council meeting here—to field and deal with complaints from their community.