“The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) embraces and encourages diversity in many forms, striving to create an inclusive community that fosters an open and supportive learning, teaching, and working environment. Our strength as a university draws from our wide range of perspectives and experiences. We share a commitment to free speech and expression, coupled with equal treatment of all members of our campus community. The Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan reflects upon how we can provide the best education possible for students from all backgrounds and serves as a blueprint for optimal future diversity and inclusion efforts” (http://community.utexas.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-action-plan/).
The 7 page plan is available online and includes a variety of topics and priority areas. To review the entire plan visit the following link: http://community.utexas.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-action-plan/.Items specific to disability/accessibility are highlighted below.
- Establish a university-wide testing center: Approximately 85 percent of students served by Services for Students with Disability (SSD) are approved for testing accommodations, but SSD only has 15 seats available for testing. A centralized testing center would alleviate this issue and serve all students, faculty, and departments.
- Invest in student housing:It is an aspirational goal of the university to provide first-year students with on-campus housing to provide a common first-year experience for all. There is also a need for more accessible student housing to accommodate students with certain disabilities and to provide accommodations for students in the LGBTQA community.
- Undertake improvements to make paths and sidewalks more accessible: Wayfinding and accessible paths of travel are challenges for all on campus, but especially for persons with physical disabilities. An updated transition plan will provide a roadmap to accessibility on campus
- Explore the legal requirements, financial support, safety, and overall feasibility for developing and operating a campus point-to-point transportation system with a focus on accessibility: There is an ongoing need to provide transportation options within the campus core for those with acute health or disability-related concerns that makes it difficult to travel on campus. The proposed Longhorn Lift program can include one or two drop-deck wheelchair golf carts to ensure access to the program for all riders that need to make use of the service.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to provided feedback on the Plan at the following link: https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewy9Mugdi1FypA9 .
This is your chance to let your voice be heard about how UT can be more inclusive!