From COSI to NASA to the President's Prize, Anna Voelker's story is a journey that started with struggle. Learn more about Anna's custom Science Communication and Accessibility major as well as the SciAccess Conference.
Jon Hackathorn, OOD Business Relations Manager, and Julie Wood, Worksite Accessibility Specialist, attended the 2019 Disability:IN National Conference & Expo in Chicago in mid-July. Disability:IN, formerly known as the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN), is the only national business-to-business membership organization, with local affiliates, that focuses on sharing and developing proven strategies for including people with disabilities in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The event included disability inclusion experts and innovative, educational sessions. This annual conference was the largest to date, hosting 2,000 attendees from Fortune 1000 companies located throughout the country.
The Office of Institutional Equity Opens August 1, 2019
The Office of Institutional Equity exists to help the Ohio State community prevent and respond to all forms of harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. This centralized office houses the university’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Protection of Minors, and Title IX functions. University policies and changes to the Student Code of Conduct were updated effective Aug. 1, 2019, to reflect the Office of Institutional Equity.
The Ohio State University is committed to building and maintaining a diverse community to reflect human diversity and improve opportunities for all. The university is committed to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and eliminating harassment and discrimination. Ohio State will not tolerate retaliation in any form. The university is also committed to providing the best experience possible for minors while entrusted to our care. These commitments are both a moral imperative consistent with an intellectual community that celebrates individual differences and diversity, as well as a matter of law.
Ohio State does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, protected veteran status, or any other bases under the law, in its activities, academic programs, admission, and employment.
5/23/19: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced the appointment of James Clinkscale to serve in the newly created position of state ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) coordinator to help establish Ohio as a disability inclusion state and model employer of individuals with disabilities.
“In order to ensure that Ohio continues to be a state leader and a disability and inclusion state, I am appointing James Clinkscale as the state’s ADA coordinator," said Governor DeWine. "I believe that James has the right mix of knowledge, skills, and diverse relationships to advance our disability inclusion goals."
The Ohio State University has named Katherine M. Lasher as the associate vice president for the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), a key leadership position with oversight of the university’s response to reports of sexual- and gender-based harassment, violence and other forms of discrimination and harassment. The centralized office is responsible for the university’s compliance with Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state laws and university policies.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Signs Executive Order 2019-03D Establishing Ohio as a Disability Inclusion State and Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities
The Executive Order, signed on January 14, 2019, calls for several measures to increase employment of people with disabilities in state government and the private sector, such as appointment of a State ADA Coordinator, a strategic plan for recruiting people with disabilities to jobs at state agencies, and a partnership between the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and OhioMeansJobs.com.
In Robles v Domino's Pizza, the 9th Circuit reversed a decision by the district court in favor of Domino's Pizza due to a lack of regulatory guidance on making their website and mobile app accessible. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that in the absence of government guidelines, they still had a legal obligation to provide access not just in their physical location but also to their services provided in digital platforms so long as those platforms do sufficiently connect with services provided at a physical space, interpreting Title III as applying to a place of public accommodation not in a physical space. Domino's argued (and the district court agreed) that forcing them to be compliant would violate "due process" law since they had not received timely and clear notice of how to make their platforms accessible. With the Department of Justice has said since 1996 that Title III applies to websites of places of public accommodation, it offers no guidelines on what constitutes digital accessibility. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that due process was not at issue since the plaintiff sought compliance with private sector digital accessibility guidelines as a remedy and not monetary compensation. While the ruling does not clarify specific standards businesses must meet to make their digital platforms accessible, it joins other similar cases in which courts have ruled that businesses of public accommodation must take reasonable action to make their websites accessible.
"The purpose of the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project (ADP) is to boost levels of description activity and disseminate information on that work throughout the nation. Its major goal is to sponsor a broad range of activities designed to build awareness of audio description (AD) among the general public as well as its principal users, people who are blind or have low vision."
Some highlights of the accomplishments of the Audio Description Project (ADP) over the last decade include:
- Establishing an annual conference and training institute for audio describers
- Growing presence on Facebook and Twitter
- Website that provides weekly updates on audio-described DVDs and Blu-ray discs (over 150 in 2018) and a Master List of over 1,500 titles now available on streaming platforms, as well as updates on TV shows including video description and a comprehensive listing of broadcast television programs with audio description
- Audio-described tours of the Smithsonian, White House, Holocaust Museum, and other national landmarks
Should You Tell Your Boss about Your Disability? (Janice Gassam, Forbes, 1/1/2019)
"The evidence suggests that individuals that decide to disclose a mental condition will likely experience negative consequences. But sometimes the costs of keeping your condition a secret are taxing on mental resources. In considering whether to disclose your condition to your employer, it’s important to weigh the costs of not disclosing."
A new report from a disability-inclusion foundation has blasted Ivy League schools, including the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, for discriminating against students with mental illness. It claims the colleges are forcing students to leave campus against their will and without medical justification to protect the schools from legal liability and bad press.
The report, released in December by the Ruderman Family Foundation, graded the leave of absence policies at all eight Ivy League universities. None scored higher than a D-plus.
“Leave-of-absence policies, as they are currently being implemented, are exacerbating the college mental-health crisis,” concluded the report from the Boston-based philanthropy.
According to the American College Health Association, 40 percent of undergraduates have felt severely depressed in the last year and more than 10 percent have seriously considered suicide. Yet many college counseling centers are understaffed, with often less than one mental-health clinician for every 1,000 students.
House Bill 115 Signed to Improve Interactions between Law Enforcement Officers and People with Communication Disabilities
Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 115 into law on May 2, 2018 designed to make encounters between police officers and people with communication disabilities safer. The law establishes a database people can voluntarily enroll in which informs officers that during a traffic stop, the driver or a person in the car has a communication disability. For more information, visit Communication Disability Law.