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News Release, College of Southern Maryland

Staff and faculty at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) recently joined to discuss the significance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the passing of the landmark legislation.

Via Zoom, host and Director of CSM’s Organizational Development and Learning Institute Trenace Richardson led a panel discussion that highlighted the ADA’s purpose, CSM’s myriad of disability services and the college’s unwavering commitment to work and promote equity. She was joined by CSM ADA Coordinator and Director of Disability Support Services (DSS) and EIT Coordinator Glennis Daniels-Bacchus, Executive Director of Equity and Inclusive Diversity Dr. Sybol Anderson, CSM Nursing Retention Coordinator Sheila Levings and CSM Assistant Professor of Psychology Rupa Chandrashekar, who each brought their personal stories of how the ADA legislation impacts their lives.

“This [legislation] has been described as the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities,” shared Anderson. “This is a piece of legislation that has been significant [because] it set in motion concrete mechanisms for creating equity of access and opportunity for our colleagues and friends and fellow citizens with disabilities. This is a central part of CSM’s institutional commitment and work to promote equity at CSM.”

“The ADA law covers both physical disabilities, something you can see – and invisible disabilities like an autoimmune disorder – or an intellectual or mental disability,” shared Levings. “Those are all covered under the ADA law. So many people fail to realize that they are moments away from an injury or an illness that could cause them a temporary or permanent disability.”

All of us must be aware of that notion, agreed Anderson. “In fact, I would say the likelihood, that we are all going to find ourselves differently-abled at some point in our lives really does signal the importance of really knowing and understanding the importance [of this legislation].”

CSM’s Disability Support Services is dedicated to helping students with disabilities reach their personal, academic, and career goals. The DSS team strives to remove barriers that limit opportunities, and provides equal access to everything that CSM has to offer its students, staff and faculty. The DSS team provides support in all aspects of college life including assistive technology, classroom aids like interpreters and note takers, and provides help with strategies for dealing with everyday issues in college.

To learn more about CSM’s Disability Support Services, or if you require assistance, visit https://www.csmd.edu/student-services/disability-support-services/ or email Daniels-Bacchus at godaniels-bacchus@csmd.edu.

About ADA: The ADA became law in 1990. It is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. To learn more about the Americans With Disabilities Act, visit https://www.ada.gov/.