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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Campus

Center for Students with DisABILITIES to be renamed


Center for Students with DisABILITIES Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The University’s Center for Students with DisABILITIES is in the process of being renamed. 

A petition created by UH students with disabilities included a concern regarding the name of the department, stating the spotlight on “abilities” implies having a disability is inherently negative.

The creators of the petition proposed renaming the Center for Students with DisABILITIES using input from disabled students on campus. 

“Although changing the name of the department has been discussed with administration and students over the years, this has not come to fruition,” said CSD director Cheryl Spadaccia. “This petition created the impetus to move forward with requesting to rename CSD.”

The CSD conducts a survey through social media in order to determine students’ preferences. The survey includes three proposed names: Justin Dart Jr. Student Accessibility Center, Office of Disability Access and Office of Student Accessibility.

Students were also encouraged to give suggestions for the new name through the CSD’s social media page

Spadaccia said the best practices for naming these types of centers were also researched. 

“We provided this information to administration and developed the proposed new name of the center,” Spadaccia said.

The final proposed name is currently being reviewed by UH leadership and cannot be discussed until approval is received, she said. 

Spadaccia assures the new name will be reflective of the information gathered and the University’s unique connection with the “father of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Justin Dart Jr.

Spadaccia was told by Dart’s widow, Yoshiko Dart, the CSD is the only establishment the family would allow to be named after her late husband. 

“He reportedly didn’t like this kind of attention, as he wanted all involved in disability rights to share the spotlight,” Spadaccia said. “However. due to his strong ties with UH… the family allowed the center to be named after him.”

Disability rights advocates highlight the significance of terminology and emphasize that disability is not a bad word. 

“It is extremely important for the name of the center to appeal to students and others who utilize our services,” Spadaccia said.

“It needs to accurately reflect the services we provide in a positive, welcoming manner.”

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