Professor collects disability data, syllabi

By Dan Ehrhardt

Students can be accommodated if they have a disability, though not all professors provide accessibility statements on their syllabuses.

Greg Long, health and human services professor, said he collects his student’s syllabuses to see if they have an accessibility statement. Accessibility statements inform students that they have “the right to request disability related accommodations,” according to the Disability Resource Center’s website.

“I think we need to target faculty, staff and people who don’t have a lot of etiquette knowledge,” Long said. “We’re trying to make change on campus with setting up a group for students to improve support.”

Long’s data is shared with the University Council.

“I believe that professors should have to put that statement in their syllabus,” said Tertia Jeppson, junior communication disorders and rehabilitation services major. “It is very important that students advocate for themselves. If students have a disability and require additional resources they need to make sure that they are reaching out to the Disability Resource Center.”

Professors who have not included the required statements on their syllabuses have said they simply forgot it, Long said.

“I think it is very wrong for them to not have it on their syllabus,” said Katie Devita, senior rehabilitation services major.

It is encouraged that all faculty include an accessibility statement on their syllabus, said Randall Ward, Disability Resource Center director.

If students need to get a disability on file, they can speak with the workers at the resource center on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building.

The center works with people to help them, and if a student has an approved disability through the center, professors are obligated to help, said Long.

“I think the most important thing we need to remember is that people need to treat others with disabilities just like they would treat anyone walking down the street,” Devita said. “The biggest barrier to those with disabilities are the environment of people that are not educated about disability and breaking down the stigma is key, so we all need to do it together.”

If a student feels he or she is getting redirected then he or she must speak up and make sure he or she is being heard, Jeppson said.