Some questions

As a student with a disability who uses the services of Services for Students with Disabilities, I am very concerned with the office of SSD. I agree with Bob Jordan that Nancy Kasinski is not qualified to deal with physical disabilities. (Sept. 21, The Northern Star) I also do not feel that she is qualified to take on the responsibility of her new position as assistant director of SSD.

Gary Gresholdt, Assistant to Student Affairs and NIU’s 504 Compliance Officer, assured Sue Reinhardt and Linn Sorge that a national search would be held to locate the assistant director of SSD and that they would be involved in the search committee and the interview process. He agreed that this person should have background, experience and expertise in the area of physical disabilities. Thus, if Sue and Linn’s units were combined with Services for the Hearing Impaired, there would be four professional staff members.

In mid-August Mr. Gresholdt said that the Division was thinking of making an internal staff assignment to fill the assistant director’s position. Mr. Gresholdt was asked by Linn and Sue to inform them as to who was being considered for the position thus making it easier to provide input. He told them that he could not give them that information.

It was not made aware to Sue and Linn until just before noon on Aug. 27, two and one-half working days before Sue was to retire, that Nancy Kasinski would be the new assistant director for SSD and begin her position on Sept. 1. The question was raised by Sue and Linn, “Since the overseer of the Service unit was not to be an expert in hearing impairment, could the coordinator’s position she vacated be filled with someone with expertise in physical disabilities?” Mr. Gresholdt stated that the open coordinator’s position would be filled by another person with expertise in hearing impairment. Sue and Linn stressed that such a decision did not seem fair to persons with physical disabilities who are the only major group of persons with no experts the professional staff. Both Mr. Gresholdt and Ms. Kasinski stated that persons with physical disabilities did not need their own anchor person on staff with expertise in their area of disability. This response was not taken lightly by persons who have physical disabilities. They asked “Who are Gary and Nancy who are both able-bodied to judge what we need?” Much disappointment and sadness was expressed. Sue and Linn were told after Aug. 27 by others within the staff that they had known of Ms. Kasinski’s new position before them—one had known for two weeks. All were instructed not to tell them anything about the decision.

I have several questions to be addressed. Why was the national search for a person who was qualified in the area of physical disabilities abandoned? Why did the Division withdraw its support to staff the service unit with a professional from each major area of disability? Why two experts in hearing impairment when the highest population of persons with disabilities on NIU’s campus is persons with learning disabilities? Why were the team coordinators, who are known campus-wide to be very strong advocates for persons with disabilities, not told of the decision until there was no time to try and change it?

There seems to be something fishy going on here, and I do not appreciate the officials of this university giving a bad rap to Sue and Linn who have always been concerned for the students, and who are most dedicated to their jobs.

Doug Anzlovar


Special Education