UC Berkeley Accommodations Initiative Structured NegotiationsDRA and UC Berkeley Reach Landmark Settlement Improving Academic Success for Students with Print Disabilities
Nationwide, college students with print disabilities – individuals who cannot read standard print because of vision, physical, developmental, or learning disabilities – face major barriers and disparities to academic success because colleges and universities fail to provide these students with text books, course readers, and library research materials in alternative formats they can read. These formats include Braille, large print, audio, and digital text that is compatible with various types of assistive technology software.
To address this critical issue, DRA worked with the University of California, Berkeley for one year in a collaborative structured negotiations process that resulted in a new set of policies and practices to ensure that print disabled students have access to all of the written instructional materials needed to succeed in a university setting.
Meet three UC Berkeley Students who participated in the settlement:
The settlement reached in 2013 is a model plan that colleges and universities should consider adopting nationwide to remove barriers to academic success for students with disabilities in higher education. Three UC Berkeley students represented by DRA and who participated in the settlement commend the new improved policies reached in the settlement agreement.
One of the representative students who participated in the settlement, David Jaulus, said: “I am very proud to have been a part of this settlement process. Getting accessible course materials for students like myself with physical and visual challenges is essential to have an equal chance at academic success. With this settlement, I hope that students with print disabilities will finally be on an even playing field when it comes to getting course materials.”
Another representative student, Brandon King, explained “I was proud to come to Cal knowing that the disability rights movement was spearheaded here. This agreement is a serious first step in the right direction for students, like me, with learning disabilities. Having access to library materials for the first time in a format where I can enjoy the reading at a decent pace is priceless.”
Representative student Tabitha Mancini said enthusiastically, “It has always been a dream of mine to have full access to the campus library system so that I can do research, and I’m very happy this will now be a reality for all UC Berkeley Students. This is especially true given UC Berkeley’s prominence as a research institution in the U.S.”