Monday, June 02, 2008

Chronicle of Higher Ed.: Some Colleges Don't Like ADA Restoration Act

See this article, which begins:

Although it has been stalled in Congress for several months, legislation that would broaden coverage under the Americans With Disabilities Act has recently been on the radar of some college officials and the associations that represent them.

Their concern: that expanding the definition of a disability could overwhelm offices that work to accommodate such students on university campuses.

Several higher-education associations have met recently about the bill, both with one another and with key Congressional staff members. Though the bill faces opposition from the Bush administration, its key sponsor hopes to get a modified form to the floor by this summer.

Most universities voluntarily go beyond the letter of the law in accommodating students on their campuses. But broadening the definition of a disability could add even more demand for campus offices that already work with hundreds, if not thousands, of students.

I don't editorialize much, but one paragraph in this story jumped out at me:

"This would be an unfunded mandate," said Bea Awoniyi, assistant dean of
students and director of the Student Disability Resource Center at Florida State
University. She added that money for her office comes from state appropriations,
which would not necessarily increase even if the office must accommodate more

That's pretty rich. Universities are the most "funded" entities around. They don't pay any taxes on all of the tuition they take in, and they get substantial grants and other subsidies from the government. If the central administration at Florida State doesn't want to allocate sufficient funds to staff the disability services office, that's not something you can blame on the federal government or the ADARA.



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