While Americans commit themselves to the belief that anyone can succeed with hard work as this country represents the land of equal opportunity, certain individuals in the Division of Student Affairs on this campus seem to believe they are exempt from subscribing to this national ideology.

As the chair of the Associated Students Commission on Disability Access, it saddens me to report that Disabled Students Program disregards its mission “to assure equal access … to all students with … disabilities at no charge.” Currently, students who provide evidence of a learning disability from a licensed medical doctor are required to further prove their disabled status by paying out-of-pocket for $500 to $1000 in testing. Students who cannot afford to be disabled – by the Division of Student Affairs’ standards – are essentially told to take a hike by the under-funded Disabled Students Program. With the campus failing to prioritize funding for this program, they are in effect pushing students with disabilities down a steep slope.

The University of California, Santa Barbara must ask itself the value of assisting people with disabilities. The educational credentials earned from this University by students with disabilities will allow them a greater ability to help society and our communities in the future. Students, faculty and staff who feel it is their duty as Americans to take a stance on the value of equal opportunity are encouraged to attend a critical upcoming meeting to discuss this issue with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young on Monday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. in Cheadle Hall 5203. The Commission on Disability Access urges the vice chancellor to recognize that the time for change is now.

On another issue of great importance, a committee is now forming to improve police relations in the community. As many students noticed over the recent Halloween weekend, the police are granted great power to keep Isla Vista safe. Whether you are interested in party regulations, rape prevention or any other issue relating to public safety, you are encouraged to join the newly formed committee. As many students are both citizens and local residents, the undergraduate population would best be served by forming a collaborative partnership to discuss important issues with those who keep the peace in our community. I encourage all students interested to e-mail me at .

To meet the students, I am announcing a new program to put the “free” back in Freebirds by offering to buy a burrito for the first four students that would like to discuss campus politics with me every Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. at Freebirds. I look forward to meeting you and understanding how I can best represent the interests of the great students of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Scott Talkov is an off-campus representative for Associated Students.