Council for Disability Concerns Minutes — March 2, 2005

Attending: Anne Chi, Margaret Hough, Jay Sennett (Welcome, Jay!), Sam Breck, Jack Novodoff, Carole Dubritsky, Jeffrey Tibbs, Jim Knox, Carey Larabee (Welcome, Carey!), Tom Hoatlin (Welcome, Tom!), Douglas White (Presiding), Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (Minutes).

Doug called the meeting to order and introductions of attendees were made. Doug stated that we would attempt to adhere to the agenda and cover all the items within an hour. He asked whether the meeting site (President's Conference Room) is agreeable to everyone (which it was) and announced that meetings will probably be held there from now on instead of the School of Social Work. We shall maintain our first Wednesday at noon schedule for our meetings, at least for now.

SNOW: Snow removal problems were discussed with emphasis on curb cuts being covered with snow, and various ideas were broached, e.g., since Grounds cannot do 2nd tier buildings immediately, perhaps snowblowers/salt could be provided so that specified individuals could clear areas that impede accessibility.

As a first step, Carole will meet with heads of Grounds, Building Services, Work Control, and Parking to set up a system that identifies buildings and needs and establishes clear, uniform procedures. After that, there will be a call for public comments, which will allow Council members to give input. It was noted that the city plows the city streets on campus and snow is often dumped on curb cuts.

CONSTRUCTION: Discussion of proactive advocacy by Council to be accomplished by a committee that would advise all new construction. Carole emphasized that this is a good time for us to assert ourselves with the architects/engineers, to get things done right the first time and thus to feel empowered.

The number of wheelchair accessible seats and lack of wheelchair-friendly bathrooms in the stadium was the next subject of discussion. There will be a Regents Meeting on March 17th, in which the stadium construction may be on the agenda.

There is an Architect/Engineering/Services (AES) web site that lists all UM construction projects, so there is opportunity for us to find out what is happening. Universal design helps everyone, those with/without mobility issues.

CALL for VOLUNTEERS to be on the Construction Advisory Committee--please contact Doug ( So far, suggested members are: Jack Novodoff, Tom Hoatlin, Carey Larabee, Jay Sennett, Vic Rosenberg, Mike Harris?, Paul Guttman?. There should be an 18 month to 2 year commitment. Committee members would meet with the architects of various projects and become part of the process.

INVESTING in ABILITIES We have to decide on a speaker or keynote event. Jim Knox presented idea of having large screens set up in Diag and having event broadcast in and taken right to campus, perhaps with Stephen Hawking or another well-known figure in a video conference. We could use SI technology. Jim Abbott was mentioned along with Don Anderson. Sam Breck suggested Steven Kuusisto of OSU (wrote "Planet of the Blind"). Sam also suggested a panel discussion on voter accessibility issues, bringing in experts from various states.

CALL for VOLUNTEERS to be on Speaker Advisory Committee--please contact Doug ( So far, we have Doug, Jim, Anna and perhaps Tom? or Mike Harris?

NEUBACHER COMMITTEE CALL for VOLUNTEERS and for LEADER of Neubacher Committee--please contact Doug ( So far we have Jay, Carole, Anna. Carole has all the information and instructions to pass along but cannot be leader again this year.

$5000 fund was briefly discussed (available until end of June)--we could use to pay a portion of speaker fee or to set up Diag video conference.

The meeting was adjourned promptly at 1 pm.

ADDENDUM: For those of you who could not make the meeting, please consider volunteering for one of the groups listed above. The Council needs *your* help. Thanks very much.