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Syracuse University to Create Disability Inclusion Office

September 15, 2020

Syracuse University will create an Office of Disability Access and Inclusion following a year-long audit of its disability resources and services, Chancellor Kent Syverud announced Monday.

The university will launch a national search for the office’s director, who will coordinate SU’s compliance with federal laws that prohibit discrimination and mandate affirmative steps to hire, retain and promote people with disabilities, Syverud said. The director will report to the school’s chief diversity and inclusion officer as well its chief equal opportunity and Title IX officer.

The office will also include the university’s accommodation specialist, who oversees the accommodation needs of staff and faculty with disabilities.

Syverud endorsed the creation of the office as part of the first phase of recommendations from the Disability External Review Committee, which formed in April 2018. The committee, made up of faculty, students and staff, opted to roll out its recommendations in phases due to disruptions that the coronavirus pandemic caused.

The committee included results of an external audit in its recommendations.

“This process was spurred by a realization that, while our university has been a pioneer in disability studies, disability rights and inclusive education, in meeting the needs of our own community, there are areas where we have lost focus on our commitment to access and inclusion,” Syverud said.

The university will increase marketing and outreach efforts to better include people with disabilities, the committee said. SU will also inspect all university facilities for inaccessibility and develop a database of barriers to access so officials can prioritize their removal.

The school will also form an Accessibility Review Committee that will oversee Information Technology and Services accessibility policies, procedures and responsibilities, the committee said.

The committee plans to release its second phase of recommendations by spring 2021.

Source: Daily Orange