Our Office has Moved!

To better serve students, the Office of Accessibility Services has moved to the lower level of Stewart Hall. The staff assists students with temporary and permanent disabilities at all campuses. In addition to new space, the office has re-organized to provide greater clarity and support to students with disabilities in authorizing reasonable accommodations as well as assisting the faculty by answering questions or concerns in relation to academic accommodations. For questions about accommodations or help assisting a student who is having difficulty in class please contact the office at 304.293.6700 or at access2@mail.wvu.edu.  

A Memo from the Director of the Office of Accessibility Services

The Office of Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) has reorganized to provide greater clarity and support to students and faculty in providing reasonable accommodations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require institutions of higher education to provide architectural and programmatic access to persons with disabilities. We are committed to working with everyone to answer questions and concerns in relation to students with disabilities and their academic success here at WVU.

First, in an effort to make our processes clearer, our website serves as the first point of reference.

Defining Disability

This semester, we have talked about images, portrayals, and stigmas of individuals with disabilities in the media. However, what are disabilities? Let’s take a look at how disabilities are currently defined and protected.

Definitions of disability and beauty have changed over time; “concepts of beauty and comeliness were different when physical injury, smallpox marks, and other scarring were more common” (Disability and History). The Americans with Disabilities Act was originally written in 1990, and originally required business, buildings, transportation, public transportation, and other services to accommodate the disabled. Currently, the ADA defines a person with a disability as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability” (What is the definition of Disability under the ADA?).

OAS Scholarship Applications are Open

The Office of Accessibility Services has several scholarships available to their students. The scholarships that are available for the Fall 2017- Spring 2018 academic year are officially accepting applications. Please visit the OAS Scholarships Page to view what applications you may be eligible for and apply. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 7 at 5pm. 

Russell Harvard: Actors in "Tribes"

We ask these questions frequently. We have our headphones in. We’re on our phone. We’re not paying attention. These questions are common-place, but the play, “Tribes,” uses these questions as a form of abuse.

In the production, Russell Harvard, a Hard of Hearing actor, plays Billy, a Deaf young man. In the storyline, Billy is the only Deaf member of his family. He struggles to overcome narcissism and abuse at the hands of his family members. Diction is their weapon of choice.

"Breaking Bad" and RJ Mitte: Positive Light on CP

“I am not in danger. I am the danger.” – Walter White,Breaking Bad

RJ Mitte, Walter Jr. in Breaking Bad, threatens the pejorative perceptions of individuals with disabilities. In August 2016, Mitte spoke with the “Irish Examiner" and stated, “We know lots of progress is being made but the industry must do more to help disabled people work both in front of and behind the camera. During the Paralympics, there will be more disabled people than ever before on TV but this shouldn’t be something that just happens every four years.” 

Survey seeks to better understand WVU's accessibility

WVU has undergone a self-survey of its Americans with Disability Act (1990) compliance. As a part of this self-survey, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is seeking to better understand how students, faculty, staff and the community view WVU’s accessibility, both the ways in which the University is doing well, and where there is room for improvement. Please take a few minutes to complete the WVU Accessibility Survey.

El Deafo, Motivation in the Media

We have all had our struggles overcoming embarrassment and loneliness growing up. Entering public primary school with a hearing aid strapped to your chest generates a unique set of challenges. Cece Bell, author of El Deafo , recounts her experiences as a Hard of Hearing student in public school: fielding questions about the cords framing her face, and her inability to clearly hear her instructors the way she used to.  

Cece contracted meningitis at the age of four, which ultimately led to her hearing loss. Meningitis is a common cause of hearing loss and deafness. Cece’s experiences are specific to her, but her story highlights a common theme in the Hard of Hearing and Deaf ( and really, the majority of humans) population: fitting in.