The College Success for Students with Physical Disabilities guide recently named UCSB one of the top disability-friendly colleges in the nation.
The book, released Feb. 1, compares prospective schools for students with disabilities and medical conditions. The guide ranked the campus as an ‘ADA-plus college’ for providing services beyond those required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Chancellor Henry T. Yang said the recognition reflects the university’s efforts to ensure all students have access to important resources.
“We care about our students — their education and their lives — and we are continually seeking ways to enhance and improve the living and learning environment for … each and every member of our student body,” Yang said in an email. “We have a multitude of people and resources on our campus devoted to helping our students, including those with disabilities, to develop their talents and achieve their goals.”
The university uses the Disabled Students Program to ensure disabled students are given equal opportunity to succeed, according to the program’s director Gary White.
“Here at DSP, we work to be sure students with disabilities receive their academic accommodations that help to level the playing field and allow their talents to surface,” White said.
Last Fall Quarter, fourth-year global studies major Alex Stern filed a lawsuit against the University of California after UCSB failed to alter its policy that allegedly banned disabled students from applying for jobs through the DSP program.
Stern said the guide’s distinction is misplaced in light of the UC’s recent attempt to strike down a portion of the Americans with Disabilities Act in response to his lawsuit.
“Given that the president of the student body and the entire Legislative Council joined together to reprimand UCSB for blatant discrimination against the disabled, I believe this recognition is undeserved,” Stern said. “I know of no other college campus in America that is devoting so much effort to fighting against disability rights.”
The Office of the Student Advocate General recently issued a statement condemning the university for labeling disabled students incompetent for certain jobs.
“UCSB has repeatedly defended their policy in court by saying they should be able to ban the over 50 million Americans with disabilities because the disabled ‘may be less able, due to their disabilities, to perform the essential function of the positions,’” the statement said.