February 19, 2008
For immediate release
UC Santa Barbara has announced the results of a recent comprehensive survey of disability issues on campus in order to determine the strengths, needs, and problems faced by people with disabilities at UCSB. The results show that although people who report disabilities tend to find the special resources provided by UCSB to be helpful, they are less satisfied with the ability to get to and around campus. Completed during the 2006-7 academic year at the request of the Senate Committee on Diversity and Equity at UCSB and the UCSB Institutional Research Office, this effort was led by Daphne Bugental, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology, and by George Singer, Professor in the Department of Education at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. The data from the survey will be used to develop a new plan for serving people with disabilities on campus.
“A UCSB Faculty Senate ad hoc committee began meeting two years ago to examine reports of problems that students and faculty members with disabilities have had in accessing services and in safely moving around the campus,” Professor Singer says. “In order to see how widespread these concerns are, we conducted a campus-wide survey with the support of the UCSB administration. The results show that UCSB has several strengths in supporting its community members with disabilities but that there are serious problems with safety and access for people with vision and mobility impairments.”
The most problematic responses focused on physical access and mobility on campus. Only 23% of the respondents said that bike paths and crossings are safe and barrier free and only 33% found walkways to be safe and barrier free. Other problems noted were inadequate access to wheelchair accessible bathrooms and classrooms. Transportation to and within campus was problematic for over 70% of the respondents.
Close to half of all respondents are satisfied with the general campus climate. The largest percentage of satisfied respondents was people with learning disabilities. People with mobility impairments were the most likely to be dissatisfied. Regarding satisfaction with the climate created by fellow students, 21% were dissatisfied and 48% were satisfied, suggesting some room for improvement.
When asked if they felt any discrimination on campus, 29% reported experiencing some discrimination and 51% did not feel they had been discriminated against. Fifty percent said they were uncomfortable asking for accommodations with 33% reporting comfort. Most encouraging, students who had received services from the Disabled Students Program generally reported high levels of satisfaction with 78% satisfied.
[George Singer and Daphne Bugental are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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