The Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD) was founded in January 2015 and has since attempted to improve access for students with disabilities at Boston College. This past Monday night, CSD hosted a town hall to present and discuss the ways it is working to do this. These initiatives, some ongoing and some completed, include working to make each class syllabus accessible to students before class registration instead of the first day of class. Requiring this would help students with disabilities to judge the requirements of a class and the accommodations they might need in order to take the class. Currently, members of CSD feel that students with disabilities who receive the syllabus on the first day of class are not given enough time to make decisions about accommodations, which sometimes include ordering special eTexts.
Another initiative is the creation of an accommodations form for Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) events, which allows students with disabilities to ask for accommodations when attending UGBC-sponsored events, and an attempted improvement of Eagle Escort services, which currently uses only two vans, often with only one operating at a time, which can lead to slow response times when a student requests an escort. CSD also serves as an advocate for students with disabilities by putting forward the concerns of these students and promoting discussion about them. Beyond these initiatives, CSD is also planning to continue hosting town halls and will host a discussion for Love Your Body Week.
These initiatives and events are positive ways for CSD to impact the BC community. CSD remains a relatively small and newly developing council with the diversity and inclusion division of UGBC, and hosting a Love Your Body Week event, as well as other town halls, is a good way to maximize exposure and work toward further growth. It can be easy to forget how students with disabilities are affected on campus, and CSD does BC a service in ensuring that the issue is not forgotten. With the difficulty involved in the large infrastructure changes on campus that would improve accessibility, CSD does well in promoting these concerns, especially considering their newness. It is through increased awareness that larger changes can come, and public events and initiatives are one way to jumpstart this awareness. Larger projects, such as improved staffing at the Connors Family Learning Center and providing an advocate for students with disabilities who have to meet with a professor or dean about accommodations, should continue to be worked on to address these concerns and spread further awareness.
Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Archives