Letters to the Editor

Our Readers: SU officials respond to complaint about accessibility meeting location

UPDATED: Feb. 7, 2017 at 1:50 p.m.

To the campus community: We are writing in response to the letter, “Accessibility meeting should be held in location closer to main campus,” published electronically in the Feb. 1 edition of The Daily Orange. In November of 2016, a group of student leaders, faculty members, administrators and other stakeholders communicated in the aftermath of L. Scott Lissner’s campus-wide “Disability Forum,” held on our campus on Nov. 1 and 2, 2016. Mr. Lissner is the ADA Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer at Ohio State University. A distinguished and internationally recognized disability rights advocate and leader, Mr. Lissner was invited to campus by the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee (BCCC). The focus of the “Disability Forum” was to support our entire campus community in identifying our strengths and opportunities for change. The Forum highlighted numerous goals and identified myriad strategies, especially in relation to accessibility and “going beyond compliance.” These goals and strategies contributed significantly toward and will continue to assist us in realizing our ongoing commitments to inclusion and belonging, in practical terms and actions. Following Mr. Lissner’s visit, outreach efforts began immediately to convene representatives of over 20 campus organizations, in order to figure out how to improve our collaborative synergies. Outreach arrived at a punctuation point with the inaugural meeting of the Temporary Working Group on Promoting Accessible SU (convened by Associate Provost Jeffrey Stanton), scheduled on Feb. 1 in the Goldstein Student Center. As a means of tackling decentralization and strengthening communication across campus, this gathering was intended to brainstorm and prioritize ideas while outlining desired outcomes.

At the beginning of the Feb. 1 meeting, a statement was read by a student representative on behalf of a group of students who are members of the Temporary Working Group. This statement identified concerns regarding the planning, goals and venue for the meeting. In deference to and in solidarity with the students’ concerns and boycott of the meeting, the group members in attendance agreed to adjourn the meeting immediately and to respond to these concerns in ways that would guarantee greater inclusion.

To the student signatories of “Accessibility meeting…,” we wish to convey sincerely and publicly our deepest apologies for the ways in which our planning, goals and venue choice did not center appropriately students’ needs and expectations.

Our goal of bringing groups together for conversation that will help foster positive and systemic change remains — the ways in which we do this work are equally important, as we move forward from here.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Pam Peter, Director, Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Paula Possenti-Perez, Director, Office of Disability Services

Katie M. Rupert, Administrative Specialist, Office of Academic Affairs

Jeffrey M. Stanton, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Information Studies

Diane R. Wiener, Director, Disability Cultural Center

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the headline misstated the focus of the letter. In this letter, Syracuse University officials respond to complaints about the location of a recent accessibility meeting. The Daily Orange regrets this error.


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