The Associated Students Commission on Disability Access (C.O.D.A.) and University Leadership Network proudly present the first-ever UC system-wide student conference focusing on students with disabilities. “ACCESSING OUR EDUCATION: 2001 Disabled Students Conference” will be held at the UC Santa Barbara campus and is open to everyone. This event is free and we strongly encourage community members and students from Santa Barbara City College to come and attend this event.

The organizers chose this theme for the conference because we believe that education is a right, regardless of one’s socioeconomic status, gender, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or ability. Despite the passage of landmark legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities must continuously fight for the right to inclusion in all aspects of university and community life. On college campuses nationwide, there are still many barriers restricting access to higher education for students with disabilities.

This event is co-sponsored by the A.S. Finance Board, A.S. Program Board, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, A.S. President, and Disabled Students Program. For event information, please contact Mel Fabi at 893-5085 or or Erin Fowler at 971-5983. This event is wheelchair accessible and sign language interpreters will be provided. Otherwise, for special arrangements to accommodate a disability, call the UCSB Disabled Students Program at 893-8897.

We highly encourage everyone to attend and participate. Representatives from Pepperdine University, Braille Institute and California Relay will attend to show and demonstrate new technologies that will advance the disabled community now and in the future. It will be a time for sharing our stories, making new friends, connecting for a positive change, and uniting the disabled community and its allies so that all of us may have better access to our education.

Here is a list of the planned events for Wednesday, March 7, 2001:
* Noon-1 p.m. Kickoff Rally, Storke Plaza
_ Performance from Dirk, featuring Santa Barbara Guide Dogs for the Blind.
* 1-4 p.m. Workshops, MultiCultural Center
_ 1-2 p.m. Disability Experience Workshop. Just for a moment, feel what it is like to be blind or in a wheelchair. This workshop will raise awareness of what it is like to be a disabled student at UCSB.
_ 2-3 p.m. Demystifying Disability Sexuality. One of the myths enveloping the disabled community is that they are not sexual. This workshop will confront that stereotype. We will explore issues of relationships, safer sex, heterosexism, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. This workshop is a safe space for all participants.
_ 3-4 p.m. Connecting for Change: Meeting with Campus Leaders. This informal meeting will allow students to meet with important campus personnel from the UCen, Housing Services and Davidson Library in order to foster awareness about disability access on campus and in the community.
* 4:30-9 p.m. Accessing Our Education Gathering, Corwin Pavilion. Refreshments provided.
_ Disabled Students Panel: What is it like to be disabled at UCSB? A panel of UCSB community members will openly address their personal stories. This is an informal way to get to know the disabled community and a great way to interact with the panel through a question-and-answer opportunity.
_ UCSB proudly welcomes W. Mitchell, Keynote Speaker. Santa Barbara resident and acclaimed author W. Mitchell knows about challenge, change and courage – all first-hand. Through co-founding a metal casting company that put thousands to work, his election as mayor and congressional nominee, a fiery motorcycle accident that left him burned on over 65 percent of his body, and the airplane crash that took away his ability to walk, Mitchell now soars above the rest with grace, good humor and gumption.
_ Free showing of the film: “Proof.” Imagine being able to touch, taste, smell and hear, but not see. In “Proof” (Jocelyn Morhouse, dir., 1991), audience members re-examine their sense of sight through the experience of a blind man named Martin (Hugo Weaving). Also starring Russell Crowe.

Mel Fabi is the Goodspeed Intern at the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.