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UC Berkeley Web Feature

History of disability inclusion at UC Berkeley

  • 1956: First program — staffed by graduate students and overseen by the Dean of Students — designated to serve students with disabilities.
  • 1958: First architectural modifications to improve access: first ramp and first curb cuts.
  • 1962: Beginning of the innovative Physically Disabled Students' Residence Program, which develops life-long independent living skills for disabled students.
  • 1965: UC system voluntarily decides to comply with ANSI accessibility standards in all new construction (first legally applicable standards were five years later).
  • 1969: UC Berkeley's first disabled students group, "Rolling Quads," started by Ed Roberts and John Hessler.
  • late '60s/early '70s: Earliest UC Berkeley coursework focusing on disability studies.
  • 1970: The internationally recognized Physically Disabled Students' Program (later renamed the Disabled Students' Program or DSP) started.
    UC Berkeley and City of Berkeley agree on a standard for curb cut design.
  • 1972: UC Berkeley students, alumni and others with disabilities found the Center for Independent Living, model for hundreds of independent learning programs across the United States.
  • 1973: Disabled Students and Alumni Placement Program established at Career Services.
    Charter year of "Disabled Students Union" as a registered student organization supported by the Associated Students of the University of California.
  • 1974: The campus establishes the Coordinating Committee for the Removal of Architectural Barriers (CCRAB).
  • 1976: First comprehensive survey of campus buildings' architectural accessibility.
  • 1978: The campus conducts the first full campus-wide self-evaluation; produces the UC Berkeley 504 Transition Plan.
  • 1983: DSP Director Sharon Bonney is the 6th president of the (currently named) Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD)
  • 1985: UCB's School of Law, in cooperation with DREDF, begins one of the nation's first disability law courses.
  • 1989: The campus completes a new, detailed building accessibility survey.
  • 1990: The Campus Policy for Accommodating the Academic Needs of Students with Disabilities established; becomes national model in higher education.
    Academic Accommodations Policy Board established.
  • 1992: The campus produces the Berkeley Campus ADA Title II Transition Plan.
    Appointment of campus ADA/504 compliance officer, believed to be only the third full-time disability compliance position in higher education.
  • 1993: The campus produces the ADA Self-Evaluation, laying out modern plans for disability inclusion.
  • 1995: Edward V. Roberts Postdoctoral Research Fellowships established at the Department of Public Health.
  • 1996: Following the original idea and vision of Susan O'Hara, UC Berkeley is funded by NIDRR to develop the Oral History and Archival Document Project of the Formative Years of the Independent Living and Disability Rights Movements in Berkeley, at the Bancroft Library.
  • 1998: UC Berkeley is named the 2nd most "disability friendly" U.S. campus by New Mobility Magazine.
  • 1999: ADA/504 Compliance Officer Ward Newmeyer is the 22nd President of AHEAD.
    The Berkeley Center for Independent Living, Inc. honors UC Berkeley for its leadership and history in promoting equal access by persons with disabilities, and its role in the development of the Independent Living Movement.
    The campus promulgates the new "Berkeley Campus Plan for Funding Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities."
    Professors Fred Collignon and Susan Schweik receive University of California Presidential Fellowships to develop a Disability Studies curriculum. They start the "Disability Studies at Cal" program.
  • 2000: The Bancroft Library inaugurates its new oral history and archival document collection, The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement. The inauguration is marked by a symposium entitled "Intersections of Civil Rights and Social Movements: Putting Disability in Its Place."
    UC Berkeley voluntarily agrees to assess mobility access and to eradicate barriers for its mobility impaired students. This project is done in cooperation with disability rights legal advocates as a creative way of avoiding prolonged legal entanglements over the university's compliance with the ADA.
Source: Office of the Assistant Provost for Equity Standards & Compliance
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