The University Faculty Senate Committee on Disabilities Issues
The City University of New York

Enabling Access to Excellence

CUNY Matters Article - June 2004, page 8 -

The June 2004 Issue of CUNY Matters included a half-page article and picture highlighting an event we co-sponsored with Baruch's CCVIP in April 2004 for CUNY Disability Awareness Month, as well as our website and other related activities.  The following is an html version of that article.


Highlights from CUNY Disabilities-Awareness Month

CUNY Matters Picture - Text below

CAPTION for PHOTO: Pip, Karen Gourgey's guide dog, calmly reflects on the new  campaign poster unveiled by the MTA's Douglass Sussman. Photo,  courtesy MTA.

A strong commitment to enabling students, faculty, and staff with  disabilities to excel in their studies, research, and work was  displayed on all college campuses, following Chancellor Matthew  Goldstein's announcement that April would be CUNY Disabilities  Awareness Month.
Many events highlighted the University's talented students,  faculty and staff with disabilities, as well as those whose area of  research is in the disability field. Notable among these gatherings  was a Disabilities Awareness celebration at Baruch College led by  its Computer Center for Visually Impaired People. The Center's  director, Dr. Karen Gourgey, joined with Douglas Sussman, Deputy  Director for Government and Community Relations for the  Metropolitan Transit Authority, to unveil a new advertising  campaign, "Working Together for Visually Impaired People" which  will promote programs and services for those with disabilities.

At the same event John Jay Professor of Government Ruth  O'Brien, author of the recent book Voices from the Edge:  Narratives on the Americans with Disabilities Act (Oxford University  Press), spoke about real-life experiences of those with disabilities  since the Act became law. Information was also given on CUNY  Assistive Technology Services (CATS) and the myriad ways that it  currently ensures computer access to students with disabilities and  on plans for offering even more services in the near future.

Queens College's contribution was a Legislative Breakfast  on April 23 attended by local State legislators, City Council  members, and other borough, City and State officials. It focused  attention on a variety of disability-related issues and on some of  the legislative work they have done together. The event also  honored those CUNY leaders who help to empower more than  9,000 CUNY students with disabilities.

LaGuardia Commuity College presented a panel on "The  Deaf Immigrant's Experience" that featured four deaf CUNY grads  from Ukraine, Pakistan, China and Brazil. Author Rose Pizzo came  to campus to discuss her book Growing Up Deaf: Issues of  Communication in a Hearing World, and the College also arranged  a bus trup to the American Sign Language Festival at Union  County College in New Jersey.
Efforts to improve University services in this area began  well before April. In December 2003, Executive Vice Chancellor  Louise Mirrer requested that the University Faculty Senate hold a  focus group on disabilities issues to identify problems and  recommend solutions. The UFS Committee on Disabilities Issues,  co-chaired by Don Davidson (LaGuardia) and Syd Lefkoe  (Queens), did so, and it produced a report with recommendations  in such areas as facilities, curricula, technology, and employment. 

The complete report and links to other CUNY and external  resources are available on the Committee's developing web site, This site also links to the main CUNY  portal's "Statement on Accessibility" and describes the ongoing  partnership with University Dean Mike Ribaudo and CUNY/CIS  related to technology and web access for people with disabilities.

In talking about the Focus Group Report, Mirrer summed  up the University's commitment, which is so necessary to the  success of the faculty, staff and student efforts: "We are pleased to  celebrate the considerable talents and abilities of CUNY students  with disabilities, the accomplishments of CUNY's world-class  faculty and staff with disabilities, the leadership of the University's  distinguished alumni with disabilities, and CUNY's cutting-edge  research that is dramatically improving the quality of life for New  Yorkers with disabilities."

Bobby WorldWide Approved AAA

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