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Friday, May 14, 2021

Graduate Student Council reviews legislation for disability inclusion, equity

Article Originally Published by Brooke Colombo on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Brooke Colombo on North Texas Daily

The Graduate Student Council reviewed pieces of pending legislation at Monday and Wednesday’s senate meetings which aim to improve equity and inclusivity for students who have disabilities.

GSC President Tiffany Miller said the legislation is part of the organization’s commitment to a campaign of kindness, also known as the GSC Cares initiative, which intends to “actively promote intentional inclusion, equity and accessibility.”

The first legislation proposes GSC makes recommendations to university officials for a mandatory faculty training related to students with a disability.

The training, which already exists, is presented to faculty who will teach a student who is blind or visually impaired and/or deaf or hard of hearing. However, faculty members can choose to opt-out of this training.

The legislation cites choosing to forgo the training can “drastically impacts students’ access to their courses” and could lead to “poorer grades, slower graduation rate or decreased mental health and morale.”

Further legislation suggests recommendations to support the Blind and Visually Impaired Alliance of students, which seeks to address navigation challenges for students.

The legislation recommends orientations and tours using cardinal directions to improve the navigation experience of new and prospective students who are blind and visually impaired.

It further recommends all construction be blocked off to all students for the safety of students who are blind and visually impaired.

Miller said the university’s facilities works with the Office of Disability Accommodations to inform them of any new construction so information can be relayed to students who are blind or visually impaired. But Miller said construction managed by the city of Denton, such as that on streets and sidewalks, is not always communicated and could pose safety concerns for students.

It also recommends braille on campus signage be thoroughly reviewed for inaccuracies and encourages students to call in and report inaccurate braille.

Featured Image: GSC President Tiffany Miller conducts a virtual meeting on Oct. 6, 2020. Courtesy Zoom

Source: North Texas Daily

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