Hearings to be held next week

By Michael Berg

NIU faculty, students and local residents will have a chance to share their comments concerning persons with disabilities at public hearings next week.

The Presidential Commission on Persons With Disabilities will holding hearings on Feb. 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. and on Feb. 18 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center Room 305.

The commission “will review the information gathered at the hearings and from other sources,” said Committee Chair Gary Gresholdt. “We will then formulate recommendations to the president.”

“An important part of our commission’s agenda has been developed by the information obtained at the previous two public hearings,” Gresholdt said.

For example, one recommendation by the commission involved computer access. Whenever new computer equipment is purchased by the university, an effort is made that at least one work station in the computing facility is made accessible to persons with disabilities, Gresholdt said.

“Also, telephone devices for the deaf have been installed in many places on campus, including the Public Safety Building, Health Service, Holmes Student Center and field house ticket office,” Gresholdt said.

The commission was also a factor in getting the new handicapped-accessible buses, he said.

“The commission was created almost three years ago by NIU President John La Tourette and was charged with providing advice on how to respond to the needs of students, faculty and staff with disabilities and how to increase the university’s awareness of issues of particular concern to those individuals,” he said.

People interested can attend the hearings or submit written testimony to the commission, Gresholdt said.