Your health and your wellbeing as disabled people is important. We know that COVID-19 can be more of a concern for some of you than to the general population. We hope you have found the university messages on travel, remote access to classrooms, health tips, and self-care useful. They can be found at Berkeley News. However, we felt it was important to send a message particularly tailored to the disability community.
Below you will find information, articles, and think pieces by disabled people that take on this difficult time in a thoughtful way.
If you have questions or concerns, we invite you to contact the Disabled Students’ Program or the Office for Disability Access & Compliance.
For immediate support contact DSP at: (510) 642-0518 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
For assistance in 24-48 hours: please email firstname.lastname@example.org
After business hours: call or text: (510) 219-1577
DSP will remain open for appointments and drop-ins, however, all appointments and drop-ins will be conducted online. Please email your disability specialist to schedule a time.
The Chancellor has announced that most in-person courses, (including discussion sections) seminar instruction and examinations have been replaced by alternative modalities for the spring semester and Summer Sessions.
Disabled students have a right to be safe and healthy, and get their education. The tools are in place right now to help facilitate this. If going to class is a risk for you due to coronavirus, go to your DSP Disability Specialist. Talk to them about amending your Letter of Accommodation to include that the class must be made accessible to you through the use of the Instructional Resilience resources available to professors and GSI. If your class is online and you are unable to access any of the resources you need, please notify your disability specialist right away.
If you haven’t used DSP services yet, you can find them online on our DSP Home Page.
The process for qualifying for DSP services is here: New Students
You can submit medical documentation of your condition, and set an intake appointment with a specialist to see if you qualify for this accommodation. Your intake may be held by phone, online, or in person. Please let us know your preference.
If you want to check out the suite of Instructional Resilience resources available to you, professors, GSIs, and groups of students (lectures, labs, and study/project groups), you can do so here: Instructional Resilience Resources.
There is a great “Tips and Resources” section that breaks down what to use for what - for example, for access to lectures, professors or GSIs can add you to class by Zoom or record the lecture and place it on bCourses. For asynchronous “Threaded Discussions,” the professor or GSI can use bCourses Discussions.
If you are encountering an access issue with your course, please contact your DSP Specialist as soon as possible. You can find your Specialist’s contact information on our DSP Staff page.
Academic appointees with disabilities
The policies and procedures for academic appointees that request an accommodation to telecommute that is linked to a disability-based need are as follows: General guidelines for faculty may be found at Disability | Office for Faculty Equity & Welfare. Our campus accommodation process for academics may be found here. Some academic collective bargaining agreements also include Reasonable Accommodation articles. This is Article 23 in the Academic Researchers’ (RA) contract, Article 30 in the Librarian contract (LX), Article 20 in the Non-senate Faculty (IX) contract, 43and Article 21 in the Postdoctoral Scholars’ (PX) contract.
Students who live in university residential housing have expressed concern regarding what would happen if the university had to quarantine people in place. If that happened, it might be necessary to separate those who are ill from those who are not. In such an event, the university would follow our non-discrimination policies and ensure that any emergency/temporary housing programming was accessible and inclusive for those with disabilities.
If you believe you may need some additional accommodations in housing during this time, please contact: email@example.com; Phone: 510-642-4108.
In partnership with the Basic Needs Center, DSP will be hosting a satellite food pantry in Slotmann L-11, Unit One in the DSP TRIO Program Room. The Center food pantry location will be open from 12-3 pm Tuesday and Friday. If you need further assistance with obtaining food or supplies, please call or text: (510) 219-1577.
Emergency transportation and/or personal attendant services
Many people with disabilities use personal attendants for transportation and daily living activities. If personal attendants become ill, or are caring for loved ones who are ill, this could create a gap in support for disabled people in our community. Please read this article by the Center for Disability Rights “Action Steps for Attendant Service Users in Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019”; http://cdrnys.org/blog/programs-services/action-steps-for-attendant-service-users-in-response-to-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/
Also, if you end up in a situation where you need emergency transportation or attendant services, these may be available through our local Berkeley disability entity Easy Does It https://www.easydoesitservices.org/.
Right to be free of discrimination
Harassment or discrimination because you have a disability or are perceived as having a disability, is a violation of UCOP PACAOS 20: Policy on Non-discrimination, and PACAOS 140: Guidelines Applying to Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability. If you feel that your rights have been violated, including a denial of reasonable accommodations as a staffer, instructor, or student, you have the right to file a grievance with the Office of Disability Access & Compliance here: https://dac.berkeley.edu/dac-requests-and-forms.
Thought Pieces & articles by Disabled People/Organizations
The language and sentiments that are found in mainstream discussion of this public health challenge can leave people with disabilities feeling alienated and othered. It is important to hear those within the community name this and also hear from community members on the challenge itself. We curated the following articles and think pieces for your consideration:
What you need to know about Coronavirus in ASL
Five Things to Know About Coronavirus and People with Disabilities
Disability Rights UK: Statement on Coronavirus
The Cripples will Save You: A critical coronavirus message from a disability activist
World Institute on Disability: Call to Action
Finally, if you just need something to take your mind off of this, or off of school, and connect you to a good cause, local disability entity Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is having its first-ever “Napathon” to raise money for disability advocacy (sounds like fun):
If you have questions or concerns, the Disabled Students’ Program and the Office for Disability Access & Compliance are here for you and happy to provide information or connect you to the right campus resource.
Karen & Ella
Karen Nielson, JD
Director, Disabled Students’ Program
Ella Callow, JD
ADA/Section 504 Officer
Director, Disability Access and Compliance