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  • Nina Butts

What’s New With Disability Rights Council?

The Disability Rights Council (DRC)is a student-run organization whose main goal is to make Olivet College an accessible campus. The DRC primarily focuses on students with physical disabilities because of Olivet College’s current level of inaccessibility.

Accessibility refers to how easilypeople with disabilities, whether they be physical such as using a wheelchair, or mental, can accomplish tasks intheir daily lives. Olivet College has several elements that remain inaccessible for certain students, such as thefact that none of the student housing options have an elevator.

The former president of the DRC, senior Jeff Humphrey, spoke about the goals of the DRC, as well as the organization’s future plans.

“Nobody wants you to call [students with disabilities] disabled,” he said. “We advocate and we educate others about what people with disabilities go through, and we advance the causes of trying to make this campus more accessible for students with disabilities. We want to make it accessible for all.”

Humphrey’s visual impairment is one of the reasons Olivet College must become more accessible. Providing for his impairment includes assets like truncated domes at the ends of sidewalks (raised surfaces), audio files for textbooks, and braille signs.

Humphrey said, “My ability to get around this campus is the same as yours, I just do it differently, where you may use only one sense I use four.”

In the last week or so, sidewalks around campus were redone, and truncated domes were installed. The installment of the truncated domes was a decision made by the City of Olivet, but the DRC also suggested the idea.

“It was suggested by the new student accommodations person on Olivet College, but it was also a disability rights proposal mandate that happened to the college,” Humphrey said.

Vice President of the DRC, senior Rachel Stoneburner, discussed some of the other projects the organization is planning.

“Outside from the obvious physical restraints, we would also like to work on smaller things like dimmers for the light switches, a change in door handles, official braille signs...better reading equipment for the computers,” Stoneburner said.

The Olivet College Student Accommodations Coordinator, Joey Shepherd, is the advisor for the Disability Rights Council. Currently, he is review- ing the organization’s previous accomplishments in order to understand what they can do in the future.

“I’m hoping to bring on guest speakers and individuals who represent disabilities and impairments,”Shepherd said.

The DRC is also planning to hold fundraisers for future projects. Stoneburner mentioned some of the fundraising ideas. She said, “We’ve talked about having a movie night every weekend that talks about a disability within the movie, so like a movie like “Radio”...we’ve also talked about partnering with Special Olympics and hosting a basketball game here.”

The DRC meets at 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

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