Key Areas of Concern:
As a group, the Disability Alliance and Caucus worked hard during Fall 2017 giving feedback on the Master Plan, which we were very disappointed in for its lack of disability consideration.
From constituent concerns, we prepared this information for a meeting with Dr. Sands and Dr. Pratt-Clark that took place during Spring 2018. This was an outline of what we brought to discuss:
- Overview: Update on important items since last time we were given time with Dr. Sands (September 2015)
- Completed requests: Handrails on Burruss, Campus Map, Access Fail Form, New Infrastructure
- State of Disability on Campus
- Disability identifying difficult, no count or number, no one keeping info on this category of identity
- Digital Accessibility Training for digital accessibility
- Would be great to have folks ready to make accessible materials, could be instituted like Title IX training or given to new faculty during new faculty orientation
- CART and ASL resources
- We request administrative direction and financial support for non-class events when requests for ASL or CART arise.
- Signage and routing for physical accessibility
- Current signage is woefully inadequate and rarely well-planned for construction
- Grad Student Workplace Accommodations
- Need a clear path to request – currently some things through SSD, others through ADA; a lot for a new grad student to navigate and justify.
- Community Space
- This is a long-term goal of the Disability Alliance & Caucus, separate from ADA or SSD, which are *not* social spaces (and should not be).
- Accommodations Process for Students
- Would like to see our SSD compared with other disability services at other universities since constituents report that our disability services are more difficult to navigate than other places.
- Master Plan
- A more accessible, not less accessible campus! We presented a document along with this item that detailed ways in which the Master Plan reflected a lack of consideration/knowledge around disability access.
Collecting constituent concerns: In 2016-2017, Alliance and Caucus leadership has been working to collect concerns. Liz Spingola, Disability Caucus co-chair and our representative on the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity, presented our concerns at a CEOD meeting in April 2017.
Campus planning: We are interested in making sure our campus becomes more inclusive, not less so, as new construction and transportation projects take place.
“Access Fail” Reporting: Disability Alliance members realized there were no easily ways to report when access features on campus were blocked, broken, or otherwise inaccessible. Now there’s a link for “Accessibility” at the bottom of the VT homepage that takes you to a list of resources, including a handy online form where you can, either anonymously or as yourself, report any “access fails” you encounter at any place on any VT campus or any VT extension site. The information goes to Facilities right away.
Handrails for Burruss: The Disability Alliance successfully lobbied for handrails on the front of Burruss Hall. They were installed during 2016.
Campus Map: The Disability Alliance pushed for a more accessible, updated online campus map during 2015-2016, and the university administration listened. It’s not perfect, but the current map is a huge improvement over the last iteration. Please make sure to choose the “Accessibility” Layer: http://www.maps.vt.edu/interactive/