CfDC Minutes — January 13, 2016

Jack Bernard, Chair; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer, Coordinator; Jane Vincent; Bonnie Dede; Megan Montgomery; Tracy Wright; Kristyn Sonnenberg; Seong-Hee Yoon; Dan Rabosky; Carolyn Grawi; Trevor Balnaves; Stuart Segal; Seif Saqallah; Lloyd Shelton; Susan Barnes; Matthew Holliday. Welcome everybody (especially, First-Timers!)...

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Carolyn distributed flyers with information about celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living in the Biomedical Science Auditorium on March 12, Saturday, at 6 pm. There will be a silent auction. More details to follow.

Candidate for ADA Coordinator, Emily Lucio, will give talk at 11 am on Friday, 1/14, in Palmer Commons. All welcome.

SSD Speak-out on Thursday, 1/28, 6 pm-8 pm, in Henderson Room featuring Lloyd's Students with Disabilities and their Allies. As Stuart would say: “Come for the food, stay for the Speak-out.”

Anna reported that she and Bonnie are in the throes of writing (actually just finishing up) a paper about the 2015 Investing in Ability events with the theme of "Stigma, Stereotypes, and Bullying"--as a record of what we did and, perhaps, as a model for other institutions. The summary of 2014 Investing in Ability events on the theme of substance abuse ("Is Addiction a Disability?") has been published in Medical Reference Services Quarterly.

DISCUSSION

In view of the fact that there was no official agenda, Jack started the discussion about the new U-M policy re disability that is responsive to ADA, with consent decree to Dept of Justice He mentioned that this might possibly breed resentment among other employees. A lively discussion followed on this subject, which inspired the additional discussion of a variety of topics such as:

Does a special swing for special needs work to "normalize" the playground or to increase discrimination? Adults have more difficulty than children adjusting to differences. The disability themes should be broader ones. Very high statistics on unemployment among those with disabilities. Very high statistics on people who have or will have mental illness at some time in their lives. How do we plug disability into diversity. History of disability at UM--sidelined or ignored. HoneyCreek School united with WISD (children with special needs). Accessibility in new buildings so don't have to retrofit. Women in single sex dorms better off scholastically, but men in single sex disadvantaged. Exposure to differences necessary for increased empathy. Finding out what UM individuals with disabilities think of UM culture--should be part of survey. SSD not there to provide advocacy (although it does provide some) but accommodations. Time is biggest challenge for students with disabilities--getting ready, doing assignments takes more time. Council would like to have students as members but students have little time. Also, Council has had excellent students aboard at times but they then graduated. Interest waxes and wanes among students over time. Voices of Staff has section on diversity and ideally disability could be included in it. How to capture donor money for disability/accessibility at UM? A cultural center with safe space for disability would be desirable (cf: Trotter Multicultural Center; Spectrum Center). Considering a statement to President Schlissel and Dr. Sellers? Lloyd gave outstanding presentation to the UM Regents last year at the meeting when Regent Darlow, a wonderful advocate, retired from the Board. Plans for Michigan Union renovations for 2017-18. SACUA could help raise awareness by including question about disability in its annual survey of administrators. Assessment tool for all 2017 Freshmen on unconscious bias, UM first to use it; follow-up following year to see progress and student growth.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Jack is working to introduce a question about disability into a major survey that is being created. Please send any suggestions for questions to him (bernar at umich.edu)

And please keep in mind that on Wednesday, February 3rd, at noon, in LSA Room 0205, Carole Dubritsky, our very effective and extremely industrious ADA Coordinator, who has helped us so much in so many ways, will share some of her thoughts, experiences, etc. with the Council. Please mark the date! Please come if you can. Thanks very much!