ACPA College Student Educators-International values the inclusion, equity, and accessibility of our association and colleges and universities around the world. All students, faculty, and staff with disabilities require respect and equity, and some require additional services and support from the institutions that serve them. It is our goal to continue to disseminate information and education on the subject of inclusion to our membership. We will continue to learn about the needs of all marginalized communities and our role in giving them a voice in the fields of higher education and student affairs. It is our job to educate ourselves and others on the ways in which we can empower people with disabilities, rather than relying on the emotional labor of affected communities. We encourage institutions of higher education to listen to experts and students making proactive decisions to secure a more accessible and inclusive future for college campuses around the world.
Institutions of higher education must confront their histories of excluding and discriminating against students with disabilities, and must do what is necessary to learn about the problems facing affected students today.
A good first step in acknowledging our past and moving forward is to ensure adequate funding for Disabilities Resources Centers at universities and colleges. Another important aspect of this work has to do with legislation and policy making. We must advocate for equitable solutions to our most pressing challenges around the world. National Center for Education Statistics shows that in the U.S., people with disabilities are unemployed at a vastly higher rate. These data have to do in part with internalized prejudices and stigma associated with disability. Our role as higher education and student affairs professionals is to help shift this narrative in academia; our influence spas to every field and discipline, and we have the power to change these systems of discrimination.
ACPA College Student Educators-International aims to help advocate for people with disabilities in academia through our (Dis)ability Coalition, which aims to promote the accessibility of our programming and education, as well as the advancement of university administrators to improve service and inclusion for students with disabilities.
Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, conditions for students with disabilities have become more accessible and equitable in colleges and universities. However, this work is far from over. We must continue to improve our structures and facilities for students and build better support systems for faculty and staff with disabilities.
Additional resources on this issue:
- ACPA Coalition for (Dis)Ability
- National Resources for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education
- Association on Higher Education and Disability
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