Complaints of Disabled Students Prompt College Policy Review
In response to student claims that Harvard's efforts to accomodate disabled incident have been less than adequate, the College will soon review ins-policies and resources for dealing with the 23 undergraduates with serious disabilities.
The student-faculty Committee on College Life, at his first open meeting, yesterday, heard the claims of two disabled students who cited problems steaming from the limited number of accessible Houses and facilities. The students also criticized the University's decentralized procedures for processing complaints.
The two disabled students at the meeting--Rani Kronick '84 and Lisa Chertkov '85--and the five Undergraduate Council delegates to the committee presented a resolution calling on the College to establish a central office and formal procedures for addressing complaints from disabled students.
Problems with the special shuttle van, housing, access to buildings and classes, and other matters are now handled by a variety of different offices. Chertkov said, adding that the current system places a great burden on handicapped undergraduates.
Kronick and Chertkov said the specially equipped shuttle buses and other support systems suffer from poor management, contributing to the difficulty disabled students face in leading normal undergraduate lives.
Thomas E. Crooks, Faculty coordinator for handicapped students, said the College has improved the accessibility of facilities and Houses in accordance with federal rules passed several years ago.
But, Crooks added, "It is time that we take a good look at the system." Additional charges throughout the College would be extremely costly, Crooks added, though no estimates were discussed.
Dean of the College John B. Fox Jr., who chairs the College Life committee, said he was receptive to the issues, but added that the committee would want several weeks until a special University committee has made a preliminary review.
Chertkov said that because of the limited amount of accessible on-campus housing, some disabled students are prevented from having roommates and enjoying many common opportunities.
Currier is the only House fully accessible to students with certain severe handicaps, Chertkov said, adding that the College should make several River Houses equally available.
Although the new portion of Quincy House has several rooms designed for full acceptability, students in wheelchairs can only reach curtain sections of the House--including the dining hall--through complicated and isolated routes, the students said.
The committee also discussed plans for a review of the College's policy regarding drug use; reviewed details about next fall's extension of weeknight hours at Lamont and Hilles Libraries; and discussed the status of the University's position regarding the federal rules linking draft registration to financial aid (see story, page one).