CfDC Minutes — March 7, 2012

Attending: Jack Bernard, Chair; Dan Furton, Guest from MCB; Bob Meyer; Adena Rottenstein; Savannah Sisk, Lisa Clark, Scott Williams, Ruth Anna Spooner, Special Guest Presenter and her interpreter; Christa A. Moran; Mary Reilly; Jane Berliss-Vincent; Hamida Bhagirathy-Bastin; Carole Dubritsky; Melanie Nau; Anna Clements; and Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (Council Coordinator and Scribe). Introductions were made around the table.

Announcements

Adena announced the ADACO Disability Awareness Week that includes: Disability Awareness Flash Mob on Tuesday, March 27th, 12:00 p.m. on the Diag and a Disability Studies Mini-Conference (with free food and door prizes) on Thursday, March 29th, 4:00-6:00 p.m.,Room B780, SSWB. A brief overview of the events can be seen in our recruitment video: Full details of the event, including what we expect of volunteers,can be found in the attached word document. Adena urged us all to spread the word.

Lisa announced an Open House at the Testing Accommodation Center on March 30th from 10 until noon.

Bob announced the 3rd annual Bowlapalooza to benefit the National Kidney Center’s patient emergency fund, a joint project with the UM Student-Athlete Advisory Council and to take place at Colonial Lanes on March 10th, 1-4 pm (register at 12). A brochure is attached.

Lloyd announced an annual conference on Race and Disability to be held at Rackham on March 17th from 1:30 to 2:30 and to discuss action steps to be taken.

Christa told about the impact of social media re: a deaf student at CMU who was denied an interpreter.

Jane announced that more adaptive technology is becoming available at the Knox Center.

Anna mentioned two kudos for EMU—an interactive campus map for disability parking and for accessible doors to buildings. Discussion about having something similar at UM (for some 214 buildings); and a workshop given by Adam Meyer (attended by Patricia Anderson) for high school students with disabilities who are college bound. Discussion about having disability mentioned on UM’s Wolverine Express and possible reinstitution of such a course as Jack’s “You Have No Idea.”

Presentation

Ruth Ann Spooner told us about deaf education and the fact that deaf high school graduates read at only a 4th or 5th grade level. Her goal is to make these students have good literary skills and good literature that is accessible to them (text to sign perhaps?), and she would like to teach at the university level. Jack stated that since UM is digitizing all its library holdings, there might be a way to help all of those, including deaf/HOH students, who have print disability, maybe incorporating signing into the digitized collections.

Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB):

Dan, of MCB staff, described the governor’s executive order to abolish the MCB and said that although the services will still be there, the exact structure is unknown at this time. The director’s job has been eliminated, and the MCB and Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) will now be under the Dept of Human Services. Separate agencies for the blind vs merged units—what are the negatives? There will be a hearing on March 22nd, that Dan suggests should be packed with concerned citizens, which, he said, is the best way to impress the governor and the legislature. Although this is a public act, the group it refers to is considered politically insignificant. The MCB is more generous than MRS has been in supporting college students. The leading advocacy group is National Federation for the Blind; another is the American Council for the Blind. Jack suggested that legally we could write as Council members or as individuals or as both.