CfDC Minutes — December 6, 2006

Attending: Jack Bernard, Chair; Joe Lentini; Gerald Hoff; Melody Vanoy (welcome!); Paul Guttman; Angie Burgos; Carolyn Grawi; Mike Stevenson (visitor, welcome!), Gloria Hage (visitor, welcome!); Els Nieuwenhuijsen; Jill Rice; Carole Dubritsky; Miriam Manary (welcome!); Susan Bourrie; Mary Vigilanti; Sarah Watkins; Jim Knox; Sam Goodin; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (minutes).

Jack called the meeting to order, and introductions were made. Mike Stevenson from Athletics and Gloria Hage from Counsel were present as visitors.

Jack described the Council as an e-mail group but a very important onesince there is no such thing as a "disability community" per se and that the Council serves as a critical megaphone, like a sounding board to galvanize topics in the area of disability for the rest of the community.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Carole announced that the North Quad construction plans were proceeding and that members should let Carole know if they have questions or would like to see the plans.

Jack announced that Ed Loyer's family sent the Council a lovely note and a check for $1000.

DISCUSSION:

A lively discussion about the Stadium and space issues ensued.

Sarah mentioned that the Stadium changes would be "it" for the next 75 years and questioned our role as a Council as far as making sure that seating for those with disabilities is dispersed and that there is adequate space for wheelchairs and sufficient accessible bathrooms with ability to get to them. She stated that we should make people with disabilities a more visible presence, which would benefit all.

Carole gave an overview of the current configuration, the expansion above the bowl and the West Concourse additions.

Mention was made of Notre Dame's configuration (400 accessible seats disbursed all over its stadium), as well as OSU and MSU, which seem friendlier to people with disabilities.

Susan mentioned other special populations' needs, such as handrails (Carole said those would be installed with the renovations).

Jack mentioned that we need to observe practicality in the areas of campus accessibility and that nowadays we could as a Council help shape discussion of issues of architecture, perhaps with flexible seating around the Stadium, so that we could adjust the number of areas we need for wheelchairs from year to year.

The use of the Stadium for Commencement was also discussed.

Jack praised the discussion for its lack of finger-pointing and lack of villainizing. We have to praise the positive aspects of construction (eg, the new Gerald Ford Building) as well, while we brainstorm and push for our concerns in the areas of disability. Also, a different issue concerns the SkyBoxes, which should not be merged with the accessibility of the Stadium that we are discussing.

Sarah suggested that we have a survey of students and their needs for accessibility and their dissatisfaction with what is inaccessible, and Sam agreed to send our the survey.

Sarah also suggested that we publicize the Council more and the fact that the Council needs student input (student numbers on Council have varied through the years). We should also publicize the accessibility form on our web page, perhaps in an all-campus e-mail.

Jack announced that Prop. 2 does NOT apply to disability issues.

Els asked about social stigma, and that topic was discussed.

Our work is cut out for us, Jack said, and offered the Athletics Department our assistance if needed.

The Provost's Office is doing a space study with one of the 9 major points being accessibility (added to list by Jack).

Carole told the group that the Office of Institutional Equity is conducting a space survey of 30 UMHS buildings (out of 300).

Jack told the group that President Coleman is concerned about the issues of access with respect to the Stadium.

Carole Dubritsky's accessibility study next year is for the UMHHC and covers all inpatient hospitals and 30 outpatient facilities. When she initiates an accessibility study for the campus it will be between 200-300 buildings.