The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Stan State Strives for Accessibility

Illustration+by+Mark+Coggins+for+The+Signal

Illustration by Mark Coggins for The Signal

Students with disabilities often face barriers to access and inclusion across college campuses. From inaccessible buildings and classrooms to a lack of support services, these students often find themselves at a disadvantage.
The college experience is about more than just academics. It’s also about socializing, making new friends, and exploring new interests. However, for some students college can be a difficult and even isolating experience.
For some, this is their first time at college. For others, it’s their first time away from home. But for all students, college is a time of new experiences and opportunities.
But colleges and universities are working to change that. Inclusive initiatives and support programs are making campuses more accessible and welcoming for all students. At Stan State, Disability Resource Services (DRS) is an on-campus organization set to address these issues in an effort to promote inclusivity.
DRS director Marvin Williams spoke at length about the importance of providing students the services they need to succeed.
“We take care of students with a verified disability by helping them get necessary classroom accommodations that can allow them to access the curriculum without their disability being a barrier,” Williams explained.
DRS has direct communication with faculty, allowing for constructive communication regarding individual students’ accessibility. Though DRS is a valuable resource available to students, not many are necessarily aware of the services offered, or that they should even be registered.
Owen Miller, a fourth-year student at Stan State, has a hearing deficiency and reading processing disorder. He said he had not been registered with Disability Resource Services yet. 
“I have not gotten around to starting that process,” Miller said. “Right now I just work closely with my professors when I struggle with material in my courses.”
According to Williams, 20% of humans have a disability.
“I should have approximately 14% of the campus population registered with my office,” he said. “We are just a little over 4%.”
Marvin suggests more work is needed by each of us to eliminate the stigma surrounding disabilities in order to more effectively recruit students into the helpful program.
Another university organization committed to promoting inclusivity is the Office of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA). The CPA is responsible for ensuring Stan State branding and marketing is consistent between all forms of media across various departments.
CPA’s Senior Web & Electronic Communications Developer, Mandeep Khaira, spoke about their current efforts to ensure accessibility on the web.
Recently, the current site infrastructure for the university website requires all images to contain a description for those with visual impairments. Additionally, the CPA office works with departments to ensure media like flyers are available in PDF format, an accessible file type, rather than just an image which may have a great looking design.
“From my perspective, if something has to be accessible and it’s not pretty, then that’s how it’s got to be,” Khaira said. “And that’s a battle I’m always fighting.”
The efforts of Stan State and other universities to make their campuses more accessible for students with disabilities are helping to create a more inclusive community for everyone.

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Stan State Strives for Accessibility