Weekly News Updates
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, January 28–February 3, 2024
Utah's Republican governor signed into law an anti-DEI bill for public colleges and universities, after a history of him championing women’s rights and diversity.
In 1988, University College Dublin set up Ireland’s first disability services while creating a national AHEAD* organization that continues today as an advocate for disabled students.
- Young adult novel Where You See Yourself features a young woman making decisions about college based on wheelchair access while navigating friendships and romance; it just won a prestigious Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association.
- Read a summary of a virtual conversation about the politics of disability, Black womanhood, and disability justice at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with links to information about panelists.
- University of Georgia students with “invisible disabilities” explain what it’s like to be in college, get accommodations, and deal with stigma.
- DisabledinSTEM on X and Purdue University are groups working to make labs accessible for disabled STEM researchers.
- Many college students don’t know how to request accommodations in jobs, but Teen Vogue explains what students need to know and ways to address “structural ableism in the workplace.”
- New research suggests engineering and technical Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses may help students with learning disabilities transition to college.
- The College of Saint Rose’s program for students with intellectual disabilities will continue in New York despite the college closing, moving to Russell Sage College.
- Binghamton University has a new Neurodiversity Club , which meets regularly with the existing Disabled Student Union and American Sign Language (ASL) Club.
* AHEAD in Ireland is not affiliated with the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) in the United States
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, January 21–27, 2024
- A new director of disability, culture, and inclusion has started at Johns Hopkins University, and he brings his own experiences as a disabled first-generation college student to his work.
- Students experiencing discrimination have more severe mental health concerns compared to their peers, according to a new report from Penn State University (click here to go directly to the report ).
- The blind professor leading Australian group Universities Enable says universities need more involvement of disabled academics and a community-led advisory mechanism for implementing disability policy.
- Disability studies in Serbia is expanding, thanks to work by the University of Novi Sad, Penn State Leigh Valley, and CUNY.
- Some seminaries have added courses or degrees on disability theology and ministry.
- Even when Deaf Filipinos make it to university , there’s usually no access to interpreters or other services.
- The Youth Disability Advocacy and Research Network at Bournemouth University in the UK works on disability issues in East Africa; they have published videos of Disability and Media workshops held last year.
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, November 26–December 2, 2023
- How can Black people heal from the psychological, physical, and emotional experiences of racism? Professor Charmeka Newton at the University of North Dakota has developed a toolkit for individual use.
- “Postvention” policies help colleges deal with a student’s death by suicide , but most campuses don’t have anything in place.
- An “academic doula” at the University of California Davis is helping faculty deal with the anxiety and stress of pregnancy and returning to academia after parental leaves.
- Campus presidents don’t talk about mental health , so former Grinnell College President Raynard Kington comes out and offers advice for presidents and trustees.
- Learn the basics about inclusive higher education and how it works, with an article from the director of the program at Kennesaw State University.
- Two autistic professors share their experiences: An autistic professor of midwifery in the UK has tips for more inclusive courses; and being a neurodivergent professor in academia can be challenging , says Simone Brixius-Anderko from the University of Pittsburgh.
- Governors need to update career and technical education strategic plans , says the U.S. Department of Education; 37% of CTE students have disabilities.
- A scathing special report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reviews the ways politics have affected academic freedom and DEI work (including disability).
- As a senior, Taliah Carmona is reflective about being hard of hearing and how her perspective changed her years at LeMoyne College.
- With the anime A Sign of Affection movie coming on in January, follow-up volumes six and seven have been published faster than usual - read the Manga Review to learn more (it has spoilers!)
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, October 22–28, 2023
- “Generation P” is entering college and admissions officers are adapting to consider the academic, social, and emotional setbacks students experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- New Jersey’s Division of Civil Rights has entered into a Consent Decree with Mercer County Community College after an employee with COVID-19 was fired instead of getting an extended medical leave or accommodation to work remotely.
- Nearly half of adjunct faculty said they had such low salaries that they postponed necessary health care and mental health services , according to a new American Federation of Teachers survey.
- The Netflix series Sex Education has started its final season , with the main characters going to college, where they learn about disability rights and accessibility.
- Two college soccer players helped Team USA win gold in the Deaf Olympics: Spring Arbor University’s Paige Beaudry and Lafayette College’s Ani Khachadourian .
- In a recent survey, 75% of faculty had conversations with students about mental health , but only half believed they could recognize a student in crisis.
- The University of Toldeo’s law school has a new Disability and Education Law Association for students.
- A cyberbreach at the University of Michigan led to an Internet shutdown after hackers accessed personal information for 230,000 students, staff, and faculty, including health information.
- Colleges and universities in New Jersey must implement comprehensive suicide prevention and mental health programs beginning in fall of 2024.
- First-year Grinnell College student Eliza Cline shares her perceptions of ableism on campus and how the Disability Cultural Association is addressing it.
- A promotional video is available for the upcoming Japanese movie A Sign of Affection (Yubisaki to Renren ), which will debut in the U.S. in January 2024; the story follows a Deaf college student and her romance with a hearing upperclassman.
- The annual Deaf Town event at Ohio State University required nonverbal communication, with a “Town Jail” for people who used their voices.
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, October 1–14, 2023
- A new debt relief plan for student loans is coming together at the US Dept. of Education, with a focus on borrowers qualifying for partial or full cancellation of debt due to “hardship”, including medical debt, chronic illness, and whether a borrower is on Medicaid.
- Chelsea Reinschmidt went to the UK for a graduate degree, but now the University of Brighton says they will only fund interpreters for 25% of her degree program, meaning it’s likely she will be deported back to the U.S.
- Emergency COVID funds have had a permanent positive impact in some aspects of higher education , including raised awareness of students’ mental health needs and innovative programs to address them.
- News about the anti-DEI movement in higher education:
- Draft regulations for Florida’s anti-DEI legislation are available , and while banning “diversity, equity, and inclusion activities” and “political or social activism,” the law exempts programs to help students with “unique abilities” (i.e., a euphemism the Florida state government traditionally uses for disabled students).
- Dr. Viki Peer shares her experiences teaching a “Gender and Disability” course at New College of Florida as the campus transitioned under Governor DeSantis.
- Disabled drivers at University of Wisconsin campuses can be fined if they park without a campus disability parking pass, but Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill requiring UW to honor state disability cards or license plates, regardless of whether the person has University permits.
- In Columbia, Jesion Aristizábal is setting up a university for disabled people like himself—he was a CNN Hero of the Year in 2016.
- A lawsuit alleges the Peace Corps is discriminating against applicants with disabilities —especially those with mental illnesses.
- Nicholas Gregorich graduated from Clemson University with his doctorate in chemical engineering , with mentors encouraging him to keep going during a long and complicated road filled with multiple mental health leaves and struggles to stay in school.
- A new report outlines more equitable ways to provide dual enrollment programs; the report does not specifically address students with disabilities, but it’s based on the authors’ research showing students with disabilities are only 3.9% of dual-enrollment students.
- Gallaudet University’s football team are testing helmets that have captioned messages for the quarterback visible inside the helmet; CNN has a video showing how the helmet works .
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, September 24–30, 2023
- New College of Florida has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education over allegations of disability discrimination in its websites and communication; a separate complaint was also filed last month regarding the college’s alleged “overly hostile actions” on the basis of race, gender, religion, LGBTQ+ identification, and disability.
- The Amherst student newspaper is kicking off a new column by Willow Delp called “Anti-Ableist Amherst” by arguing for a disability cultural center for neurodiverse and disabled students.
- A planning guide from the Think College National Coordinating Center offers information and advice for new inclusive higher education programs serving students with intellectual disabilities.
- Joshua Nicholson shares his experience as an autistic student at the University of Michigan , saying there needs to be more improvements — a campus survey showed disabled students at the University are 291% more likely than nondisabled students to report experiences of discrimination.
- A report from Canada suggests ways to support neurodevelopmental disabilities and mental health of Indigenous people in various aspects of society, including education.
- New federal guidance for promoting diversity and guidance for banning diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs do not mention disability as part of DEI; meanwhile students at the University of Iowa are actively working to include disability as part of campus diversity.
- Results of the 2023 Student Voice survey by Inside Higher Ed examined how chronic stress is affecting mental health, and some of the findings are: only 15% of college students said their mental health was excellent, half of the students with “poor” mental health haven’t accessed campus mental health resources, and only 27% of all students knew where to get help.
- Fort Lewis College staff member Ally Gee is raising awareness of people with hearing loss at the college and within the Navajo Nation .
- A new DO-IT webpage lists resources supporting the universal design of projects, conference exhibits, presentations, and professional organizations.
Top News Stories about Disability and Higher Education, September 17–23, 2023
- Yale is no longer requiring students with medical leaves to completely withdraw and reapply for admission, after a combination of a recent student suicide, student activism, and a legal settlement forced the change.
- In her new memoir, actress Kerry Washington talks about having an eating disorder during college.
- Prospective college students want to stand out in their college admissions essays, but they shouldn’t feel pushed to write about past traumas , says an op-ed in Teen Vogue.
- Students, faculty, and staff can all experience menopause , but higher education is not always a supportive place to share experiences, deal with symptoms like anxiety and depression, or adjust thermostats to “turn down the goddamn heat.”
- A free “Certificate in Inclusive Excellence” at Augusta University will help faculty and staff learn more about inclusion; the certificate includes disability awareness and suicide prevention courses.
- Two new centers in higher education are working on disability issues:
- Northwestern University’s Center for Racial and Disability Justice promotes “justice for people of color, people with disabilities, and individuals at the intersection of race and disability.”
- The Center for Virtual Care Value and Equity at the University of North Carolina will include research to improve equity in virtual mental health care for college students.
- Learn about Usher Syndrome , the leading cause of deaf-blindness, and two women who used accommodations during and after college.
- As summers get longer and hotter, air conditioning in dorms is becoming a necessity for people with and without disabilities and health conditions.
- Binghamton College is setting up additional funding for services including mental health, disability services, adaptive technology, and transition, with the purpose of showing “disability awareness and action is a campus-wide effort and priority.”
- Deion Sanders’ daughter Shelomi is using her Instagram account to post about having Type I diabetes while attending and playing basketball at the University of Colorado.
- A new Service Dog Club at the University of Tennessee brings together students who use service animals on campus.
Also of note: People who use American Sign Language can now access ASL services at the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by going to 988lifeline.org or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) with a VideoPhone (VP). The NCCSD will soon be adding this to our list of crisis resources at https://nccsd.ici.umn.edu/crisis-resources.
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