CfDC Minutes — December 7, 2005

Attending

Jack Bernard, Chair; Douglas K. White, Vice-Chair, Mary Green (Welcome, Mary!), Sarah Hein (Welcome, Sarah!), Carole Dubritsky, Sam Goodin, Jay Sennett, Paul Guttman, Daniel Heumann, Donney Moroney, Jim Knox, Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (Minutes). Announcements

Jack brought meeting to order, introductions were made around the table, and, although there was no official agenda, Jack made several announcements:

  1. The January meeting will be on the 10th of January and we will start to discuss Investing in Ability events at that meeting.
  2. Thanks to Anthony Walesby (and to Carole D) of the Office for Institutional Equity, the Council has been given another $5,000 for the coming year. We used the last funding to support a number of excellent projects, e.g., Danny's participation in stem cell conference, Finding Voice (120 students) which had been unfunded, etc. We also received generous support from other units, and although publicity seemed to have less presence on campus, our IA events were well attended this past year. Discussion ensued about needing classes in conjunct8ion with our activities, i.e., "a captive audience," For this purpose, we should contact instructors before the end of winter term. Also, since this is the 30th anniversity of the Center for Independent Living, perhaps we can have a closer connection with that group for publicity and planning. Also, UMInDS now has a growing program with internships for the U.N.

Doug announced that the LSA student government under the encouragement and guidance of Justin Benson had unanimously passed a resolution on behalf of students with disabilities; therefore, we have the option of cooperating and collaborating with the student body on behalf of disability issues now.

Danny announced that there is now a UM Student Society for Stem Cell Research, the 23rd chapter of this group, which will hold a big meeting in January and can possibly interact with the Council for IA events in the future. Council members will be informed of the date/place of meeting by Danny and are welcome to attend. Jack: More investment by more people creates momentum and spreads the word. We have 50 CfDC members but need more to attend various IA events; if each person attends only one event, that would be very helpful, so "step up," says Jack!

Jack is already working to have President Coleman present the Neubacher Award next year. The Michigan Daily did not cover this event this past year, unfortunately, so we still have to work on getting publicity in that newspaper.

Doug said that we will have a captioned Neubacher presentation (after checking with Carey to be sure it is okay) for the CfDC web site. The Coehlo speech transcript should be ready for the web site at some point, also. Jack remarked that perhaps IA events should be spread fout reather than being concentrated in the one week in October, although that would impact publicity and financial issues.

Grants and funding were discussed. Ann Arbor Community Foundation, UM Development Office, or a national organization perhaps? Danny suggested that we should definitely try to involve the medical center next year, especially since we collaborated so well for "Murderball" and the stem cell speech. Diversity Initiative was mentioned and discussion ensued about disability not having a very big voice nor lobby in issues of diversity. Sam will obtain numbers of those with disabilities who apply to UM.

Jack would like to have information about disability right up front in matters of admissions and in job offers. We should target ads in publications geared toward those with disabilities, in the future, for purposes of recruitment.

We should use the Council for bounce ideas off one another, to push forward, and to support our individual causes.

Carole works on a yearly affirmative action plan; however, disabilities do not happen to be included in our state's guidelines. There is no requirement to disclose unless accommodation is needed. Carole is concerned with the accessibility of application forms and programs, i.e., the nitty gritty, right now.

Sam and Carole described the VOICES presentation that they held, along with Sue Bade, for the subcommittee on career development. Barriers were discussed, as well as centralized funding for accommodations (deans/directors were present), taking the syllabus back to the faculty, and transitional counseling for staff members who can no longer work in their old positions.

Donney mentioned inaccessible places with regard to our culture and described student tours that were not disability-friendly.

Jay talked about the power of department managers and how there is no centralization and no one is accountable--when there is an accessibility issue.

Sarah mentioned her idea of having all students take a required class on disabilities to increase sensitivity for this topic. Faculty members also have to be sensitized to these issues.

Jay and others discussed having public relations/marketing provide tag lines ("leg up" example was given--past student with an artificial leg made it up).

Although there are many hidden disabilities, the visual adaptations for mobility impairments set the tone in small ways and can serve as a bridge to others by raising awareness.

Jack concluded by saying: "Find the disability issue that makes you passionate and bring it to the Council."