Disability Services overhauled

New name, office hours


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As an advocate for students at the County College of Morris, the office of Disability Services is undergoing a name change to ensure that every student feels adequately represented.

“Disability Services will now be called Accessibility Services,” said Maria Schiano, director of Disability Services. “Last semester, there was some concern over the name Disability Services from students and faculty, they didn’t believe it was the most inclusive name.”

Catherine Salvatore, a nursing major at CCM said a substitution of the name Disability Services will not only benefit the students who use the service, but that it will also create unity while on campus.

“I think it is a nice thing to do for the students that are using Disability Services now,” Salvatore said. “It’s going to make it easier for them to say to their friends ‘I’m going to Accessibility Services’ because the name sounds more helpful… It’s going to make it easier for everybody to coexist in the same place, the same school and being able to talk to the professors the same and not be worried about how they are going to be presented or judged.”

CCM is now following a trend of other colleges and universities in choosing the title of their office to be more accessible to students, according to Schiano.

“The president and the vice presidents all discussed the name change and they brought the decision to me,” Schiano said. “We all looked at how other colleges and universities are changing the name of their office. It is kind of a whole wide spread across the country. There is a lot of talk from the National Organization of Higher Education disability providers of making it a consistent message to change it more to Accessibility Services.”

Some universities to make this shift include, Oregon State University, University of Michigan, University at Buffalo and University of Texas, according to the Association on Higher Education Disabilities website.

At CCM, Michelle Mardis, a biology major who utilizes and had worked for Disability Services on a previous occasion said she is open to the new name, but hopes there is a concise mission statement.

“I can see how the name Disability Services can be offensive and hurtful to some,” Mardis said. “I like the original name because it tells you exactly what their mission is and what they’re for. With Accessibility Services, if they make sure that their mission gets across as to what their services are then I’m okay with the change.”

Schiano said when Accessibility Services is approved, Disability Services will still be visible on CCM’s website in order to be in agreeance with the law.

“You have to be by law a searchable entity,” Schiano said. “If a student can’t find the service, then we’re not complying with the law. We can’t change the name so much that students won’t know where to go. I encourage students to use us. Whatever they need to be successful is more important than any name.”

With a new name, new office hours have been put into effect for the spring semester, which are now posted outside Disability Services door.

The new hours are Monday and Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday to Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Schiano said she does not expect the new hours to affect future semesters at CCM.

“The hours, we’re hoping, are only for the spring semester,” Schiano said. “This is because Jane Rufino is retiring and I’m going to be short-staffed and that’s why we decided that we had to shorten them.”

In an email to CCM professors from Schiano states that Disability Services will no longer administer exams at 7:30 a.m. Students who have accommodations must begin their tests when their class starts at 8:30 a.m.

“I liked their previous hours,” Mardis said. “It was convenient for my 8 a.m. schedule because I would get to school early and have time to take the test before my 8 a.m. class. If there is a conflict, then I’ll talk to my professor and we always tend to find a way to make it work.”

With transformations occurring with Disability Services it is refreshing to see that CCM is always evolving to accommodate all students.


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