Discussion on Disabilities
ASUCI hosts an open environment for the disabilities community on campus to discuss their experiences.
Representatives of the Disability Services Center (DSC) and ASUCI President traci ishigo laid out plans to expand services to students with disabilities at UC Irvine and to create a student organization to help promote the interests of the disabled community at UCI.
ASUCI disabilities community liaisons and representatives from the ASUCI Office of the President met as part of the first disabilities community social on Tuesday, May 15 at Moss Cove Hall B. The social was an open forum that allowed students with disabilities to speak openly with their peers about their conditions and how it affects their lives at UCI. Ishigo wanted to give the disabilities community the ability to express themselves in an open and safe environment.
“We really thought that there needed to be a space where we could start to do community building, and it could be a social and a political space as well, to continue the advocacy efforts of these two [disability community liaisons],” she said.
Other students gave their opinions regarding the disabilities community and what they as students could do to help their fellow students. The group agreed that an independent student organization should be set up to assist students with disabilities and give them an outlet to express themselves. President ishigo supported the idea and expressed her support for the organization.
“It [the organization] could be a special space and a political space where we could discuss our problems. We could discuss our problems, we could make students with disabilities feel empowered,” ishigo said.
The organization is planned to be established before the 2013-14 school year. The organization, if created, would serve as an outlet for the disabled community at UCI to come together and advocate on behalf of students with disabilities, according to ishigo.
The attendees went over ways to improve the experience of disabled students who are currently attending UCI or will attend in the future. ASUCI disabilities liaison Natividad Rico pointed out that UCI staff are often not able to assist students with disabilities, and recommended that they should be trained in accommodating students with special needs.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of times faculty and staff aren’t trained to deal with these problems. Some of the staff should have some training and should learn to deal with disabilities beyond just saying, ‘You guys can have a note taker,’” Rico said.
Another idea was proposed by ASUCI disabilities community liaison Kristen Ahn, who wanted to include programs that aim to assist incoming freshmen with disabilities with the transition to college life.
“There are people with invisible disabilities that are not noticed, and we want to be able to expand services to them. We want to have a program at SPOP for them,” she said.
The disabilities community liaisons were optimistic about the ideas that were presented and looked forward to the upcoming year. Rico in particular was optimistic that the organization would bring the disabilities community at UCI together and make UCI a better campus for all.
“I feel that a lot of people aren’t informed about our issues and I feel that we could come together as a community and improve campus life.”