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Campus Ranks High as Disability-Friendly

by D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
posted December 02, 1998

Berkeley is the number two disability-friendly campus in America, according to New Mobility, a disability culture and lifestyle publication.

The magazine's September issue named 10 campuses nationwide with unique programs, opportunities or approach to service delivery for the disabled. First place went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Thirty-four top public universities and colleges participated in a survey to identify the nation's most disability-friendly campuses. New Mobility ranked the top 10 in "an admittedly arbitrary order."

"If you look at the top three universities in the ratings, we're all basically the same," said Tony Germino, coordinator of Berkeley's Disabled Students Residence Program and campus contact for the survey. "It's important to remember the magazine's rankings are focused on mobility impairment. At Berkeley, we offer many other things, including services for learning disabilities, the deaf and hard of hearing and the visually impaired."

New Mobility lauded Berkeley's Disabled Students Residence Program for its "unswerving focus on student empowerment."

The program is designed for disabled freshmen and transfer students who have not previously directed their own personal care. Over the course of two semesters, it helps them participate in academics while developing the skills and confidence needed to live independently.

The University of Illinois's comprehensive support for students with disabilities and its unrivaled wheelchair sports program helped it secure the number one spot, according to the survey.

At Berkeley, disabled students have access to fitness training and intramural sports through Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports' Cal Star program.

The magazine also ranked schools based on attendant services, scholarships, career counseling, tutoring and a full-time disability resource office at least partially staffed by people with disabilities.

One crucial factor the survey omitted was the surrounding community, said Germino. The city of Berkeley's progressive attitude toward the disabled makes it a desirable place to be, he said.

Because the rankings were arbitrary, he wasn't sure what it would take to move into the number one spot.

"We are constantly growing and trying to improve our program," said Germino. "Our main focus is to provide the best service we can for our clients, not to top any list."


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